A federal court on 18 May formally paused a lawsuit over an Obama administration methane regulation.
The order, from the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, halts consideration of an oil industry suit challenging the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) rules cracking down on methane emissions from oil and gas drilling wells.
President Trump signed an executive order in March asking the EPA to review that regulation as part of an effort to undo several Obama-era environmental rules he argues hurt the energy industry.
In early April, Trump administration lawyers asked the court to hold the case in abeyance because they had started the process of reviewing the rule.
“Pursuant to the executive order, EPA is initiating its review of this rule and providing advanced notice of forthcoming rulemaking proceedings consistent with the president’s policies,” federal lawyers wrote in a motion then. “If EPA’s review concludes that suspension, revision, or rescission of this Rule may be appropriate, EPA’s review will be followed by a rulemaking process that will be transparent, follow proper administrative procedures, include appropriate engagement with the public, employ sound science, and be firmly grounded in the law.”
A three-judge panel formally paused the rule in a one-paragraph ruling on 18 May.