On the same day the Trump administration announced plans to end Obama-era rules governing emissions of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders decried those who deny climate change and promised tough action against the fossil fuel industry should he be elected president.
Despite opposition from major energy companies, the Environmental Protection Agency's proposed rule would end federal requirements that oil and gas companies install technology to detect and fix methane leaks from wells, pipelines and storage facilities. In addition, the rule reopens the question of whether EPA had the legal authority to regulate methane as a pollutant in the first place.
The plan “removes unnecessary and duplicative regulatory burdens from the oil and gas industry,” explained EPA administrator, Andrew Wheeler. “The Trump administration recognizes that methane is valuable and the industry has an incentive to minimize leaks and maximize its use.”
“The Trump EPA is eager to give the oil and gas industry a free pass to keep leaking enormous amounts of climate pollution into the air,” declared David Doniger, an attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council. “If E.P.A. moves forward with this reckless and sinister proposal, we will see them in court.”
The New York Times reports that the move to rescind environmental rules governing emissions of methane brings to 84 the total number of environmental rules that the Trump administration has worked to repeal. Officials at the White House, the EPA and other agencies have called the regulations burdensome to the fossil fuel industry and other businesses.
At a rally focused on climate change in Myrtle Beach, SC Thursday evening, Sanders blasted Trump for denying climate change and dangerously ignoring its impact on the future of the world.
“Let me respectfully disagree with our old genius president” who ignores climate change, said Sanders, adding that the ultimate result of global warming inevitably will result in now fertile land becoming arid and drinking water “gone.”
“When people don’t have food and water, they go to other areas to live and that is a recipe for international crisis,” Sanders said, citing a risk of war as a result.
“Almost unimaginable greed” of the fossil fuel industry is blocking progress on combatting climate change, Sanders declared, saying that as president he would make it clear to that industry that their profits are not as important as saving the planet.
“We have a moral obligation to make sure the planet we leave our children and grandchildren is healthy,” he said.
Sanders discussed his Green New Deal proposal and its $16 trillion cost. He conceded that yes, as his opponents point out, it is expensive, but the cost of doing nothing is much more at an estimated at $65 trillion.
The cost of his environmental plan, he said, would be covered by “eliminating subsidies and making the oil companies pay their fair share of taxes. Under our administration, those tax breaks, those subsidies are over.”
“We can listen to the ignorance of Donald Trump and his supporters who tell us that climate change isn’t real or if it is we can’t do anything about it,” he said, or we can “listen to the scientists and do what has to be done.”
Declared Sanders, "Donald Trump says climate change is a hoax. I say Donald Trump is a hoax. We have a moral obligation to make sure the planet we leave our children and grandchildren is healthy."
“Now is the time to save the one planet that we all have,” Sanders declared. “Now is the time.”