Methane is a potent greenhouse gas, and it currently leaks from production wells, storage tanks, pipelines, and urban distribution pipes for natural gas (MIT).

The New York Times reports that the Trump’s administration is expected to lift controls on the release of methane set by former President Barack Obama.

Methane is potent greenhouse gas released through agriculture and industry, including from leaks and flares in oil and gas wells, the New York Times says.

The new rule, issued by the EPA, will be announced by Friday.

The rollback of the methane rule is the latest move in the Trump administration’s ongoing effort to weaken environmental standards, which has continued unabated during the coronavirus pandemic.

In April, the EPA weakened rules on the release of toxic chemicals from coal-fired power plants, loosened curbs on climate-warming tailpipe pollution, and opted not to strengthen regulation on industrial soot emissions that have been linked to respiratory diseases, including Covid-19.

According to the New York Times, officials at the EPA say the new, weaker methane rule is needed to free the oil and gas industry from what they call crippling regulations at a moment when companies are suffering from plummeting prices and falling demand driven by a sharp global economic slowdown.

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