The Trump administration is preparing to make it significantly easier for energy companies to release methane into the atmosphere, reports The New York Times.
This will be the administration’s third major step in this year to roll back federal efforts to fight climate change.
The US Environmental Protection Agency plans to make public a proposal to weaken an Obama-era requirement that companies monitor and repair methane leaks, according to documents reviewed by The New York Times.
The rollback could come perhaps as soon as this week, reports The New York Times.
Methane, which is among the most powerful greenhouse gases, routinely leaks from oil and gas wells, and energy companies have long said that the rules requiring them to test for emissions were costly and burdensome.
In a related move, the Interior Department is also expected in coming days to release its final version of a draft rule, proposed in February, that essentially repeals a restriction on the intentional venting and “flaring,” or burning, of methane from drilling operations.
EPA officials believe the new rule would recoup the costs the Obama-era regulation imposed on oil and gas companies. The regulation would have cost companies about $530 million throughout the next five years, according to another news portal.