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Report: Trump plan seeks to lessen methane leak inspections

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Report: Trump plan seeks to lessen methane leak inspections

In response to industry concerns that the mandates meant to fight climate change are unnecessary and expensive, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has prepared a proposal to ease requirements forcing energy companies to find and stop methane leaks at new and modified oil and gas wells, according to a Sept. 10 Bloomberg article citing a person outside of government who was briefed on the plan.

The Trump proposal seeks to undo some mandates for equipment upgrades and would lessen the frequency of required inspections to hunt for methane leaks, the article said.

Under the EPA's drafted proposal, energy companies would have to search for leaks at high-producing wells annually, rather than twice a year as required under the 2016 Obama administration rule. Very low-producing wells, known as "marginal" wells, would have to be inspected once every two years. In addition, the EPA would relax the current requirement to investigate possible leaks at gas compressor stations quarterly, shifting to a semiannual timetable.

The drafted plan is in the final stages of an inter-agency review at the White House, with public release planned for Sept. 12. A public comment period and further development by the EPA will follow.