Regulations that were finalized under the Obama administration requiring fossil fuel companies to limit methane gas leaks and repair leaks in a timely manner was set to go into effect in June, but EPA administrator and industry lobbyist Scott Pruitt delayed enforcement of the rule.
The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in D.C. has now ruled that Pruitt did not have the authority or cause to unilaterally stay the rule. The court also opined that Pruitt and the industry provided no evidence that the rule would actually cause them great hardship.
Pruitt and his industry allies “have not offered any support for the proposition that compliance” with the 2016 rule “would cause significant hardship to regulated entities that had a year’s lead time to prepare,” the court argued.
At the same time, the EPA’s stay of the rule “is causing substantial additional methane, ozone-forming [volatile organic compounds], and hazardous air pollutants such as benzene and formaldehyde to be released into the air of communities near these wells,” the court explained in its Monday order.
They "have not offered any support" for their position.
Expect to see those words very often in the coming months.
Snark aside, this is obviously good news for people who live near injection wells where methane missions have been virtually unregulated.