Trump rolls back pollution rules for drilling on US lands

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — The Trump administration has rolled back an Obama-era rule meant to curb climate-changing pollution caused by huge volumes of natural gas that escapes after being drilled from U.S. lands.

The move Tuesday the U.S. Interior Department replaces a 2016 rule adopted under President Barack Obama that forced energy companies to capture methane, a key contributor to climate change.

It comes a week after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency proposed weakening a similar rule aimed at reducing emissions from public and private lands.

Methane, the main component of natural gas, is frequently wasted through leaks or intentional releases during oil and gas drilling.

U.S. Sen. Tom Udall of New Mexico criticized the rollback as a “giveaway” to companies that pollute.

The Obama rule had been tied up with lawsuits since its adoption.

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