On July 2rd 2017 an appeals court in Washington, D.C., has ruled in disallowing the US Environmental Protection Agency to delay methane regulations for 2 years that where put in place during the Obama Administration.
The court found that the EPA could rewrite the Methane Emission rules but delay the rules for 2 years would be overstepping their power. The EPA under the Obama Administration developed new rules, with the first set deadlines for reporting and compliance to take effect the summer of 2017.
Methane, which is released in natural gas leaks, is produced over time through biological routes. Methane emissions can come from multiple sources: sewers, manure pits, livestock, rice fields, natural wetlands. Along with oil and gas drilling and processing
Methane is a greenhouse gas like carbon dioxide and considered a primary driver of human indues climate change. Methane has heat-trapping effect stronger than those of Carbon Dioxide.
According to Scott Pruitt, doubt has been raised over fundamental facts about climate change, like the central role that greenhouse gas emissions play in global warming.
A 2-1 ruling by the judges in the D.C. Court of Appeals stated that the EPA did not have the power to delay methane regulation for 2 years while they try and find a way to dismiss this action. The court did state that the EPA could revise the Methane Rules but not delay them for an extended period of time.
This case was brought before the D.C. Court of Appeals by several environmental groups.
Gas Reduction Rule in 2016, a measure designed to limit venting, flaring and leaking of natural gas from oil and gas operations on public lands. This rule is expected to reduce those forms of gas waste by 40 percent, avoiding nearly 170,000 tons of methane emissions every year — roughly equivalent to eliminating the annual greenhouse-gas emissions from 860,000 to 890,000 vehicles.
Some key sources of Methane where reduction can take place
Finding and repairing leaks;
Capturing natural gas from the completion of hydraulically fractured oil wells;
Limiting emissions from new and modified pneumatic pumps; and
Limiting emissions from several types of equipment used at natural gas transmission compressor stations, including compressors and pneumatic controllers.