Andrew Wheeler, head of Donald Trump’s erroneously labeled EPA, has just finalized a rule that relaxes oversight of methane pollution (“White House axes Obama-era limits on methane emissions,” The Daily Star, Aug. 30). Specifically, it prevents the federal government from targeting methane in restrictions on oil-well and infrastructure emissions. This is the White House’s latest effort to reverse sensible environmental regulations. It benefits polluters financially but harms us all by fueling catastrophic climate change. Even major oil and gas companies — including Exxon-Mobil, no less — have protested the plan, since it threatens their ability to promote natural gas as cleaner burning than coal.
Methane leaks have been notoriously difficult to track. New studies show that the EPA has underestimated them by about 60%. Methane is also a much more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, so we should be doing more, not less, to monitor emissions and plug the leaks.
Furthermore, the market has already shown us that clean renewable energy sources can be developed economically. As an investment, clean energy is much better for our pocketbooks, as well as our health, than continued reliance on fossil fuels.
The federal government has no sane reason not to follow the lead of forward-looking states such as New York, California, Washington and Hawaii in remaking our energy infrastructure. New York’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act is a great example. True public service does not mean bowing down to special interests. It follows evidence-based policy for the benefit of people and the planet. This is not what Mr. Trump’s EPA is doing.
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