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A federal appeals court ruled Thursday that the US Environmental Protection Agency can temporarily delay a rule limiting methane emissions from new oil and natural gas wells as it considers an appeal of an earlier court ruling forcing the agency to enforce the rule.

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The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit Thursday granted an order allowing the EPA 14 days to "determine whether to seek panel rehearing, rehearing en banc, or pursue other relief."

The order is in response to a 2-to-1 July 3 ruling by the appeals court that EPA cannot suspend the methane emissions rule. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt had wanted to delay the rule for two years.



The court's July 3 ruling was seen as a blow to the Trump administration's efforts to roll back much of the Obama administration's efforts to combat the effects of climate change.

In March, Pruitt withdrew an Obama administration request for information that would have been the basis for new methane emissions limits on existing oil and gas facilities and, in June, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said he would postpone industry compliance with a rule limiting methane emissions from oil and gas wells on federal lands.

An effort by congressional Republicans to repeal Interior's methane rule failed in the Senate by one vote on May 10.

--Brian Scheid, brian.scheid@spglobal.com

--Edited by Keiron Greenhalgh, keiron.greenhalgh@spglobal.com