The Gas Industry Wants to Curb Methane Leaks. Trump Doesn’t Care.

The Trump administration plans to eliminate regulations that limit methane leaks because—well, just because:

The plan “delivers on President Trump’s executive order and removes unnecessary and duplicative regulatory burdens from the oil and gas industry,” said the E.P.A. administrator, Andrew Wheeler. “The Trump administration recognizes that methane is valuable and the industry has an incentive to minimize leaks and maximize its use.

Quite so. Let’s take a look at how those incentives are doing:

At this rate, market incentives should cut methane emissions in half by, oh, 2070 or so. Still, this kind of thing owns the libs by showing once again that manly men like Trump don’t believe in global warming. I mean, it’s not as if the natural gas industry itself has been begging for emission regs to be eliminated:

Larger companies have invested millions of dollars to promote natural gas — which produces about half as much carbon dioxide as coal — as a cleaner option than coal in the nation’s power plants. They fear that unrestricted leaks of methane could undermine that marketing message, hurting demand.

Exxon wrote to the E.P.A. last year urging the agency to maintain core elements of the Obama-era policy. And earlier this year Gretchen Watkins, the United States chairwoman for Shell, said the E.P.A. should impose rules “that will both regulate existing methane emissions but also future methane emissions.” Susan Dio, the chairwoman and president of BP America, wrote an op-ed article in March saying that regulating methane is the “right thing to do for the planet” and for the natural gas industry.

Even if this is just a PR gambit, who cares? Progress is progress. Unless it’s Obama progress, that is.

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You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

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