Environmental groups filed a lawsuit on Monday against the Environmental Protection Agency to prevent the agency from suspending Obama-era regulations to reduce methane pollution from the oil and gas industry. The lawsuit, brought by the Sierra Club, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Environmental Defense Fund, and other environmental organizations, marks the first legal action against Scott Pruitt's EPA.
The regulations would have prevented an estimated 520,000 tons of methane pollution by 2025, but industry officials stand in opposition to the rule, saying it is costly and overly restrictive. In March, President Donald Trump issued an executive order forcing the EPA to reconsider or rescind multiple Obama-era climate regulations, including the methane rule. Last week, the EPA announced a 90-day stay, during which time corporations do not need to comply with the new standards, while the agency reviews the rule.
"Following fast on the heels of their historically irresponsible decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement, Donald Trump and Scott Pruitt are reaffirming their view that polluters come first, second, and third, and the American people come last," Joanne Spalding, an attorney at the Sierra Club, said in a statement.