The US Interior Department will propose delaying parts of an Obama-era rule to limit methane emissions from oil and gas production on federal lands, a rule Congress upheld earlier in the year, a document showed on 4 October.
Under the rule, finalized by the Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) two months before former president Barack Obama left office, oil and gas operators on public lands must prevent the leaking, venting, and flaring of methane, a potent greenhouse gas.
The administration of President Donald Trump has sought to do away with the rule, viewing it as excessive environmental regulation. BLM has proposed delaying the rule's implementation until 17 January 2019 as it reviews Obama's regulation, according to the document, scheduled to be published on 5 October in the Federal Register.
Delays in the methane rule could benefit energy drillers on public lands as the Trump administration seeks to make the country “energy dominant” by maximizing oil and gas output for domestic consumption and for shipping energy products to allies.
Energy companies have said the rule could cost them tens of thousands of dollars per well and hinder production. The American Petroleum Institute has said the rule is unnecessary because energy producers have made strides in reducing emissions of methane, the main component of natural gas.