The state of Colorado and the city and county of Denver have joined a multistate request to have a federal judge review the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s decision to narrow Obama-era methane containment standards.
“We will stay the course with minimizing emissions in Colorado. However, the EPA’s rollback of these reasonable, scientifically supported regulations will increase emissions of methane, volatile organic compounds and other pollutants in the states and Native American nations upwind of and in Colorado,” said John Putnam, the director of environmental programs at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. “This puts the health of Coloradans at risk and exacerbates the ongoing climate crisis.”
The prior version of the methane rule would have required extraction operations to detect and monitor leaks of the greenhouse gas, which is more potent than carbon dioxide in the first decades after its release. Attorney General Phil Weiser’s office noted that the Trump Administration’s change will increase emissions of methane by 850,000 tons over the next 10 years.
However, NPR reports that some fossil fuel companies preferred the previous rules because the control of emissions helped contribute to the viability of natural gas as a cleaner alternative to other fossil fuels.
"The negative impacts of leaks and fugitive emissions have been widely acknowledged for years, so it's frustrating and disappointing to see the administration go in a different direction," Gretchen Watkins, Shell's president in the U.S., told the outlet.