Federal court strikes down 2016 BLM methane rule
The Daily Sentinel – October 10
U.S. District Court for the District of Wyoming Judge Scott Skavdahl last Thursday struck down a 2016 Bureau of Land Management rule, which prohibited the venting of methane in oil and gas operations on public lands except in cases such as emergencies or when flaring of gas is technically infeasible. Methane flaring greatly reduces greenhouse gas impacts compared to venting. Skavdahl found that the rule's primary objective was reducing emissions, a subject that falls within the purview of the Environmental Protection Agency.
Conservation group sues DOJ over no longer allowing polluters to pay for environmental projects
The Hill – October 8
A conservation group sued the federal government last Thursday to block implementation of a new policy, adopted earlier this year, that bars polluters from performing or paying for environmentally-beneficial "supplemental environmental projects," or SEPs, in lieu of paying a portion of fines or penalties they owe on account of environmental violations. A U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) memo issued in March 2020 states that the longstanding practice of accepting SEPs as part of enforcement settlements violates a law requiring that money received by the government go to the U.S. Treasury. DOJ reasoned that SEPs could only legally be allowed with express authorization from Congress, and that the practice had been “controversial for decades." The Conservation Law Foundation argues in a new lawsuit that SEPs are not funded with money that would have otherwise gone to the Treasury, and that the money is not actually received by federal officials.
San Diego County Board of Supervisors approves plan to reduce ozone pollution
Fox5 – October 14
The San Diego County Board of Supervisors this Wednesday unanimously approved a plan to reduce ozone pollution in order to improve air quality and comply with federal standards. The plan calls for a 30% reduction in on-road emissions within the county by 2026, and a 40% reduction by 2032. The plan includes emission-reduction incentives such as installation of more electric vehicle chargers, retirement of old cars, and equipment replacement programs.