In what is likely to be the first of many lawsuits against the Trump administration’s EPA, organizations are seeking legal action to ensure the U.S. curbs greenhouse gas emissions.

On Monday, June 5, Clean Air Task Force (CATF) – on behalf of Earthworks along with other environmental groups – sued the EPA in the federal court over its decision to stay, for 90 days, the effectiveness of certain methane and other air pollution standards for the oil and gas industry.

In the wake of the Trump administration’s withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement, the groups have filed a motion seeking to immediately stop the EPA action, marking the first legal challenge filed against a Trump administration’s EPA action to stay emission reduction requirements of a climate regulation. Among other requirements, EPA’s stay will delay for 90 days the implementation of leak detection and repair programs, the cornerstone of the 2016 methane rules that President Obama’s EPA finalized over one year ago. CATF says Americans throughout the country will now be deprived of the benefits from these programs, just as they were set to take full effect.

“Specifically, EPA’s stay delays regulations of sources responsible for more than half of the 2016 rule’s expected methane reductions, nearly 90 percent of the anticipated reductions of hazardous air pollutants like benzene and formaldehyde, and up to one-half of reductions of ozone smog-forming volatile organic compounds (VOCs),” the organization says in a press release. “EPA’s actions give the lie to President Trump’s assertions that he is a friend to the environment, made last week as part of his Rose Garden announcement that he will withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Agreement.”

“EPA’s stay makes it clear that the administration cares more about the interests of the oil and gas industry than it does the American public, both current and future, who bear the brunt of the damage caused by this industry’s pollution,” said Darin Schroeder of Clean Air Task Force, who represents Earthworks in the lawsuit.

Seth Whitehead of Energy in Depth, a project of the Independent Petroleum Association of America, says this lawsuit is just the latest example of environmental groups attempting to use litigation to drive their regulatory agenda.

“EPA data shows oil and natural gas system methane emissions have declined almost 20 percent since 1990 at the same time oil and natural gas production has approached record levels,” Whitehead tells OneNewsNow. “In fact, the amount of methane emissions per unit of natural gas produced has declined 46 percent since 1990, according to the National Gas Association.”

This data, he says, shows voluntary efforts to reduce emissions have proven effective and that the costly and duplicative Obama administration methane rule is unnecessary.

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Copyright OneNewsNow.com. Reprinted with permission.

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