AG Mills Joins National Coalition Suing EPA for Failure to Control Methane


A Caricature of Trump on the March 26th Cover of “The New Yorker” Magazine.  (Presumably Inspired by the Childrens’ Book – “The Emperor’s New Clothes”)

Everyone is piling on EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt – so this blogger might as well add to that worthy endeavor as well!

Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-Me.) released a press release today in which she called on Pruitt to resign from his post so that President Trump can appoint a replacement – “someone who hasn’t spent his/her entire professional life undermining or exploiting our natural resources.”  The Congresswoman is a member of the House Appropriations Committee environmental subcommittee that overseas funding for the EPA.

Fired or promoted?  Scandal after scandal by this arrogant and politically ambitious Scott Pruitt.  Who knows?

Attorney General Janet Mills joined a coalition of fifteen (15) Attorneys General and the city of Chicago in suing the Trump Administration for ignoring its legal duty to control emissions of methane – an extremely potent greenhouse gas – from existing oil and gas operations.  Specifically, the suit, filed yesterday, charges the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) Administrator Scott Pruitt has violated the federal Clean Air Act by “unreasonably delaying” its obligation under the Act to control methane emissions from these operations.

“Methane is a potent greenhouse gas and this pollution is significantly contributing to global climate change.  EPA has a statutory duty to regulate these emissions and we will not stand by and allow the Trump Administration to shirk its duties under the Clean Air Act,” said Mills.

The complaint was filed yesterday morning in the US District Court for the District of Columbia.

Methane is an extremely potent greenhouse gas, warming the climate about 80  times more than carbon dioxide over a 20 year period.  Oil and gas operations – production, processing, transmission and distribution are the single industrial source of US greenhouse gas emissions behind only electric power plants.  Based on EPA data, the Environmental Defense Fund estimates that roughly $1.5 B worth of natural gas – enough to heat over 5M house leaks or is intentionally released from the oil and gas supply chain each year.  The logic of continuing to allow leak and intentional discharge of methane is especially dubious, as methane itself is a valuable product, being the primary component of natural gas.

In yesterday’s lawsuit, the coalition of sixteen (16) AGs cites clear statutory language, Congressional intent, established agency practice and the large contribution that existing sources make to methane emissions as support for the contention that EPA is obliged to act “without delay” to finalize controls.

AG Janet Mills is running for Governor to replace Governor Paul LePage in November.

(Note:  The above right mock of Trump was presumably inspired by “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” first published by Hans Christian Anderson in 1837.  Trust me:  This is only the first time you will see the above right cover from “The New Yorker.”)