KUNM

AG Sues Feds Over Methane Rule Delay

Jul 6, 2017

Attorneys General in New Mexico and California are suing the federal government over its delay of Obama-era air pollution rules. 

The Trump administration’s delay of rules limiting methane emissions from oil and gas wells has been met with praise by some in the energy industry, who say they are too burdensome. Environmental groups argue that rolling back methane limits would harm public health and the environment.

Now New Mexico’s attorney general, Hector Balderas, is saying the federal government doesn’t have the authority to delay rules that are already in place.  

"They’re trying to force through their own view of what things should look like without following the law," said Cholla Khoury, who handles environmental protection for Balderas. She added that blocking the rules is a risk to public health in New Mexico.

"Breathing air pollution is bad for all of us," Khoury said. "Methane is a very powerful greenhouse gas, so we have climate change concerns there. All the way down the line it’s bad for human health."

Earlier this week, a federal court ruled that the EPA acted illegally by delaying similar rules on oil and gas operations.