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SACRAMENTO – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra today issued the following statement after the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California ruled that the Trump Administration’s Department of the Interior (DOI) illegally delayed the Waste Prevention Rule. Finalized in November 2016, the Waste Prevention Rule provides a much-needed update to DOI’s regulations governing the waste of natural gas from venting, flaring, and leaks during oil and gas production on federal and Indian lands. The Rule went into effect on January 17, 2017, but was postponed nearly five months later by DOI without notice and comment, as required by the Administrative Procedure Act.
“For the third time since late August, California has shut down the Trump Administration’s attempts to illegally roll back important environmental protections,” said Attorney General Becerra. “Today, in response to a lawsuit we filed in July along with the State of New Mexico, a U.S. District Court ruled that the Administration acted unlawfully by postponing the Waste Prevention Rule and must now immediately implement the Rule.
“No one is above the law. As a result of this Rule’s implementation, oil and gas operators on federal and Indian lands will be compelled to prevent the waste of natural gas. Natural gas emissions threaten the health of nearby residents and contribute to climate change.
“The rule of law must be respected, and the California Department of Justice will work to ensure that it is,” concluded Attorney General Becerra.
On August 30, 2017, following a lawsuit by Attorney General Becerra, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California declared that the Trump Administration had illegally postponed the Valuation Rule for coal, oil, and natural gas. And just last week, after another lawsuit filed by Attorney General Becerra, the Trump Administration reversed course and decided to immediately implement the Greenhouse Gas Performance Measure that it had unlawfully delayed.