A federal appeals court in Washington has just ruled that the Trump administration overstepped their authority when Environmental Protection Agency head Scott Pruitt tried to delay an Obama administration rule requiring companies to monitor and reduce methane leaks. Methane leaks are far more damaging to the Earth’s ozone than carbon dioxide coming from cars.
The three-judge panel issued out an order saying that the new requirement to reduce planet-warming emissions from oil and gas operators must stay despite the Oil and Gas industry lobbying the Trump administration for the rule to be overturned. They argued that complying with the rule reduced profits at low-producing wells.
In upholding green groups’ efforts to end the E.P.A.’s 90-day stay over parts of the regulation, the appeals court ruled that the agency’s decision was “unreasonable,” “arbitrary” and “capricious.”
Currently, the EPA is trying to suspend dozens of Obama-era regulations. The ruling on Monday is making it clear that those efforts can be successfully challenged. For instance, they are also trying to get rid of a new rule on landfills and another on chemical spills, all designed to protect the environment.
“This ruling declares EPA’s action illegal — and slams the brakes on Trump Administration’s brazen efforts to put the interests of corporate polluters ahead of protecting the public and the environment,” said David Doniger, director of climate and clean air program for the Natural Resources Defense Council.
Fred Krupp, president of the Environmental Defense Fund, said that the court’s decision “ends the continued pollution by the oil and gas industry that’s been illegally allowed by Pruitt.”
The Trump administration has overwhelmingly denied up to this point that climate change even exists and is proposing to “challenge mainstream science” by forming a new study to test it out. Pruitt will head up that effort. The move has come under fire from the scientific community saying it’s merely trying to cook the numbers to support a conservative agenda.
Here’s Pruitt (in the video below) refusing to answer whether he believes climate change is influenced by humans.
“What the American people deserve, I think, is a true, legitimate, peer-reviewed, objective, transparent discussion about CO2.”