Bad news for those concerned about climate change:
The Trump administration is scrapping limits on methane leaks, allowing oil and gas companies to decide how much of the potent greenhouse gas can escape into the atmosphere from wells, pipelines and storage tanks.
The new rules, issued Thursday by the Office of Management and Budget, effectively rescind the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority to regulate methane, the largest component of natural gas. Although it dissipates faster than carbon dioxide, methane is estimated to be at least 25 times and as much as 80 times more potent in terms of trapping heat in the atmosphere.
Just a clarification: Methane doesn't actually "dissipate," it converts to carbon dioxide after about nine years of exposure to oxygen. But during that short atmospheric life cycle, it traps heat like a bandit. Which helps trigger the dissolution of methane clathrates in the oceans and permafrost, putting even more methane into the atmosphere. It's a perfect climate change storm, and Trump is pulling all the stops out: