“White House Docs: Trump Aides Pushed EPA for Fewer Methane Checks”

“EPA bowed to White House pressure during interagency review of an oil and gas emissions rule by reducing requirements for a segment of the natural gas supply chain to monitor and repair methane leaks.

Correspondence released this week after the emissions rule was published in the Federal Register on Monday shows that officials from the White House pressed EPA staff to halve the frequency of the rule's monitoring requirements for well sites and natural gas compressor stations. It made that request in June as a rule easing restrictions on methane was being completed.

The so-called technical rule EPA finalized last month rejected White House efforts to weaken the agency's proposal to have gas producers monitor their well sites once a year. But EPA changed its requirements related to monitoring and leak repair for compressor stations, which push natural gas from the well sites through pipelines.

When the rule traveled to the Office of Management and Budget for review in late May, the measure required quarterly monitoring at compressor stations. When it was released to the public three months later, the requirement had been changed to twice annually.”

Jean Chemnick reports for E&E News September 18, 2020.