A US appeals court has rebuked the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for suspending methane emissions regulations while it reviewed the rule.
Earlier this year, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said he would delay the deadline by 90 days for oil and gas companies to follow the new rule so the agency could reconsider the measure.
A three-judge panel from the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has however ordered the EPA to move forward with the Obama-era requirement that aims to reduce emissions from oil and gas operations.
The decision is a blow to President Donald Trump’s energy plans, which has included rolling back regulations put in place by his predecessor Barack Obama.
David Doniger, Director of Climate and Clean Air Programme at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) said: “This ruling declares EPA’s action illegal – and slams the brakes on Trump Administration’s brazen efforts to put the interests of corporate polluters ahead of protecting the public and the environment.
“The ruling recognises that EPA lacks the authority to simply scrap these critical protections and it shows the courts are going to enforce the rule of law on health and environment. The Trump Administration’s war on the environment and our health has hit a brick wall.”
An EPA spokesperson said the agency is “reviewing the opinion and examining our options”.