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Washington, D.C. – Announcements this week from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) will delay Obama-era methane pollution rules. The rules aimed to limit methane pollution from oil and gas facilities.

Yesterday, the EPA formally proposed a two-year pause on the agency’s oil and gas methane pollution rule. The stay would ensure that the rules would not go into effect during the new rulemaking process. EPA’s announcement comes just days after Clean Air Task Force, Earthworks and partners sued EPA in the federal Circuit Court in Washington, D.C. over its decision to stay for 90 days the effectiveness of certain provisions of the methane pollution standards.

“Families living near oil and gas operations need EPA safeguards because they’re breathing the industry’s toxic air pollution right now,” said Lauren Pagel, Earthworks Policy Director. “A two year delay would allow more air pollution that will lead to higher levels of cancer, asthma attacks from ozone smog, and worsen the climate crisis. The plans to delay these much-needed methane pollution standards demonstrates that the Environmental Protection Agency is no longer working for the people, it’s working for polluters.”

Tomorrow, BLM will formally postpone compliance dates for key elements of their waste reduction rule. Some provisions have already gone into effect and will not be impacted, but the central waste reduction provisions were not slated until January 2018. The BLM’s methane waste rule recently survived a Congressional Review Act repeal vote.

“At a time when so many feel the economy is not working for them, we cannot afford to allow a multi-billion dollar industry to waste $330 million a year in taxpayer-owned natural gas,” said Bruce Baizel, Earthworks Energy Program Director. “Delaying critical safeguards against oil and gas pollution is just the latest assault on America’s public lands. We will not stand idly by as our government wastes our natural resources, pollutes our shared cultural history, and favors industry over people.”