Vice News — By David Corn—The administration is moving quickly to roll back Obama-era regulations on carbon emissions and methane leaks from oil and gas drilling, while it seeks to build on its record of success by expanding renewable energy and energy efficiency.
The administration’s efforts, announced Monday, are aimed at creating the environment-friendly framework that the Trump Administration hopes will spur more Americans to invest in green energy.
In a memo to agencies, the Trump Office of Management and Budget announced that it would revise an existing rule to limit methane leaks, a potent greenhouse gas that has been linked to climate change.
The rule would now require companies to report the number of leaks and how many people were affected.
The move to limit leaks is part of a broader effort to rollback some Obama-related regulations, including the Clean Power Plan and the Clean Water Rule.
“As we work to build upon the success of the Administration’s first term, we will continue to be consistent in our approach to ensuring that the rule will not impede the development of new technologies and economic opportunities,” the memo states.
The new regulations would also limit methane emissions from oil production, which the EPA has determined can cause significant impacts on the climate.
The administration has said it is looking for new ways to reduce emissions.
In a report published Monday by the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office, the GAO said that methane leaks are a significant problem for oil and natural gas producers.
In the oil and other sectors where leaks are more common, the emissions have increased by more than 500 percent since 2000, the report said.
The methane leaks have also been linked, in part, to climate impacts, the study said.
Methane leaks occur when methane leaks into the ground from an underground storage facility, causing the methane to flow into the atmosphere.
The report also said that oil and petroleum companies are often reluctant to comply with new rules because they see the cost as high and that the rules are more difficult to enforce.
A similar memo from the administration was released Monday by a top environmental regulator, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
It was also released Monday, saying the agency will make the methane rule more efficient and flexible.
The memo also calls for the creation of a methane emission reporting system, a requirement that was already in place before the methane rules were finalized.
“As a result of the President’s Executive Order, EPA will update the existing methane emission rules to allow for reporting of methane leaks and other emissions from existing and new sources,” the administration said in the memo.
“This reporting will allow EPA to track methane releases from existing facilities, and will help determine whether methane leaks can be significantly reduced through other means.”
The new methane rules would also allow companies to sell a product that contains the methane leak-detecting equipment.
The new rule would require that companies sell such products on the regulated marketplace, rather than through the Energy Information Administration.
The industry, meanwhile, is lobbying to block the new rules.
The EPA and the Trump transition team did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the new methane rule.