Trump's Regulators: Eager Servants of Oil and Gas, at Our Expense

(Photo: Babs; edited: LW / TO)(Photo: Babs; edited: LW / TO)

Eleven months into the Trump administration, it’s worth seriously pondering the question: Does Donald Trump have something against clean air? Did a smogless day insult his mother, and now he’s out for revenge? It seems silly, but it’s hard not to wonder when the Trump administration seems so determined to roll back every bit of progress the Obama administration made when it comes to reducing air pollution and hopefully slowing down the rate of global warming.

(OK, it’s probably that Trump just hates Obama that much.)

The obsessiveness of the Trumpian assault on clean air was illustrated again last week, when the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), which works under Secretary Ryan Zinke at the Interior Department, delayed the implementation of a rule requiring oil and gas companies drilling on federally owned lands to curtail the waste of methane by releasing it in the air. The rationale for delaying the implementation of the rule until January 2019 was that the regulation “may be rescinded or significantly revised in the near future,” a hint that Zinke would like to dump it entirely.

The way that the Interior Department regulates methane emissions may seem like a dry topic, but it actually provides a disturbing glimpse into the Trump administration’s utter disdain for taxpayers, the planet and the rule of law.

“This is one more way President Trump and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke are handing management of our public lands over to the special interests they consider their primary constituents,” Chase Huntley, the energy and climate program director for The Wilderness Society, said in an emailed statement. “It’s a horrible deal for American taxpayers.” 

Methane, while far less common than carbon in the atmosphere, is far more potent as a greenhouse gas. Estimates of how much methane contributes to climate change range from 10 percent to 25…

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