Obama-era clean-air rule on methane emissions blocked again

Friday, April 6, 2018, Vol. 42, No. 14

WASHINGTON (AP) — An on-again, off-again effort to restrict harmful methane emissions on federal lands is off — again.

A federal judge in Wyoming has halted the clean-air rule indefinitely. Judge Scott Skavdahl says it "makes little sense" to force oil and gas companies to comply with the Obama-era rule when the Trump administration has moved to roll back the 2016 regulation.

Skavdahl says enforcing the rule "provides minimal public benefit" while imposing potentially significant costs on industry.

Wednesday's ruling is the latest in a back-and-forth series of court decisions and administrative actions as the Trump administration tries to weaken or delay a rule imposed in the waning days of the Obama administration.

The Interior Department rule forced energy companies to capture methane gas burned or wasted at drilling sites on public lands.