Trump Rolls Back Obama-Era Methane Regulations

Alex Wong/Getty Images

Alex Wong/Getty Images


We ran the numbers: There are 1134 news articles covering this topic. 43% (485) are left leaning, 7% (80) center, 50% (569) right leaning.

The Trump administration is planning to roll back regulations on the oil and gas industry restricting their methane emissions. Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas, second only to carbon dioxide in its contribution to global warming. The Environmental Protection Agency has proposed a rule that would eliminate federal requirements that oil and gas companies install technology to detect and fix methane leaks from wells, pipelines and storage facilities. This proposal is the latest step in the Trump administration’s deregulatory agenda, which has sought to eliminate restrictions on industry, often eliminating environmental protections in the process. 

A left-leaning New York Times article focuses primarily on the environmental effects of continued greenhouse gas emissions, noting that such emissions have already led to worsening wildfires and crop failures. Additionally, the article noted that several oil and gas companies have actually opposed the loosening of methane restrictions. Several companies, like BP, Shell, and Exxon Mobil, have pledged to reduce their gas emissions in the face of pressure from activists, consumers, and employees. The Times writes, “The weakening of the methane standard is the latest in the march of environmental-policy rollbacks by the Trump administration designed to loosen regulations on industry.”

A center-right leaning article from Fox News is, perhaps surprisingly, quite similar to the left-leaning Times article. The Fox article says of the rule, “It is the latest in a series of aggressive moves by the administration to roll back regulations imposed by the administration of former President Obama.” The article also explains the role of methane gas in the greenhouse effect and points out President Trump’s skepticism about climate change. 

Centrist coverage from NPR highlights the reactions of several oil and gas companies, noting that while several have committed to lowering methane emissions regardless of EPA rules, the American Petroleum Institute “welcomed the rollback.” The NPR article also clarifies that the rule will go through a 60 day public comment period and an EPA hearing in Texas. The proposal will then likely face legal challenges, and therefore may not take effect before the 2020 presidential election.