By Lise Alves, Contributing Reporter
MIAMI BEACH, FLORIDA – The proposal by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on August 29th, to eliminate a federal requirement that forces oil and gas companies to install mechanisms to detect and fix methane leaks, was received widespread criticism by environmentalists who see the gas as one of the factors of climate change.
“This is literally insane. The fracking boom is spewing clouds of methane, it’s a huge driver of climate change, and now we’re going to drop the (minimal) regulation we’ve had in place. Trump and his buddies are pure nihilists,” said environmentalist Bill McKibben, founder of the anti-carbon campaign group, 350.org.
According to environmentalists methane is a major greenhouse-effect contributor, behind only to carbon dioxide on the list of gases which cause global warming.
The latest announcement by the EPA however is in line with President Trump’s plan to ease restrictions on environmental measures which cost energy companies millions to implement.
“The Trump administration recognizes that methane is valuable and the industry has an incentive to minimize leaks and maximize its use,” EPA administrator, Andrew Wheeler, was quoted as saying by daily New York Times.
Large gas and fuel industries companies such as, BP and Exxon, however, have sided with environmentalists, asking the EPA to maintain the harsher restrictions.
“It’s not only the right thing to do for the environment, there is also a clear business case for doing this,” she said. “The more gas we keep in our pipes and equipment, the more we can provide to the market — and the faster we can all move toward a lower-carbon future,” said BP President, Susan Dio in a press release.
After investing millions to promote natural gas as a cleaner alternative to coal, these multinationals fear that easing up on methane restrictions could lead to unattended leaks of the gas, which in turn could hinder the overall campaign and lower demand for the product.