The Trump administration on Sept. 11 proposed weakening requirements for testing and repairing methane leaks in drilling operations, among other measures, in a step toward rolling back an Obama-era policy to combat climate change.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said the changes will save the industry $75 million a year in regulatory costs between 2019 and 2025 while increasing methane emissions.
The proposal is the latest move by the Trump administration to roll back environmental rules put in place by former President Barack Obama.
Last month, the administration proposed rolling back tougher fuel efficiency standards for vehicles and moved to replace a policy to limit emissions from power plants with one that would allow states to write their own standards.
Last year, it delayed implementing the Obama-era rule limiting methane gas emissions from oil and gas operations on federal and tribal lands.
Under the new proposal methane gas emissions will increase by a total 380,000 short tons between 2019 and 2025 compared with the EPA's 2018 baseline estimate. Obama's updates to the EPA's New Source Performance Standards envisioned preventing emissions of 300,000 short tons of methane in 2020, rising to preventing 510,000 short tons of methane emissions in 2025.
The proposal is subject to public comments for 60 days, including a public hearing to be held in Denver, EPA said.