Groups Sue Trump’s EPA to Stop Rollback of Methane Regulations

Environmental Integrity Project and Partners File Federal Lawsuit to Allow Implementation Oil and Gas Methane Rule

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Environmental Integrity Project and five partner environmental organizations filed a federal lawsuit today to stop the Environmental Protection Agency’s rollback of regulations to limit methane pollution from the oil and gas industry.

In the wake of pulling out of the Paris climate agreement last week, the Trump Administration announced this morning that it will halt the implementation of rules requiring oil and gas companies to find and repair leaks of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, from new facilities such as wells, compressor stations, and tanks.

In response, the environmental groups today filed an emergency motion with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit asking the court to stop EPA’s action, which threatens the global climate and public health.

“This rollback is nothing short of a giveaway from Scott Pruitt to his friends in the oil and gas industry,” said Adam Kron, senior attorney for the Environmental Integrity Project (EIP).  “The methane rule’s leak detection and repair requirements are a straightforward and efficient means toward cutting uncontrolled releases of climate-changing methane, hazardous pollutants like benzene, and smog-forming volatile organic compounds.”

EIP filed the legal action with partners the Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club, Clean Air Council, Earthworks, and Environmental Defense Fund.

This leak detection and repair requirements are the cornerstone of EPA’s 2016 methane pollution control rule for the oil and gas industry, also known as the New Source Performance Standards.

The methane rule is projected to reduce 510,000 tons of the greenhouse gas by 2025. As a pollutant, methane has more than 80 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide.  The leak detection and repair requirements in the rule are projected to achieve more than half of the regulation’s planned reduction of methane, as well as 90 percent of its reduction of hazardous air pollutants and one third to one half of its reductions of smog-forming pollutants.

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt recently announced that he would stay the rule’s requirements for 90 days pending consideration of petitions filed by oil and gas industry groups.  He has also announced plans to halt the requirements permanently and to reopen the 2016 rulemaking.

The Environmental Integrity Project is a 15-year-old nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, based in Washington, D.C. and Austin, Texas, that is dedicated to the enforcement of environmental laws and the protection of public health.

For a copy of the lawsuit, click here.   For a copy of the Federal Register page that describes the EPA’s action, click here.

Media Contact: Tom Pelton, Environmental Integrity Project, (202) 888-2703 or