EPA punts decision on methane regs

The Environmental Protection Agency is punting a decision on whether to pursue regulations on methane emissions from industrial sources until after the holidays.

An EPA official told The Hill on Wednesday that the agency is holding off on its decision until after the holidays despite consistent statements by Administrator Gina McCarthyRegina (Gina) McCarthyOvernight Energy: Senate Dems introduce Green New Deal alternative | Six Republicans named to House climate panel | Wheeler confirmed to lead EPA Overnight Energy: Joshua Tree National Park lost M in fees due to shutdown | Dem senator, AGs back case against oil giants | Trump officials secretly shipped plutonium to Nevada Overnight Energy: Ethics panel clears Grijalva over settlement with staffer | DC aims to run on 100 percent clean energy by 2032 | Judges skeptical of challenge to Obama smog rule MORE that the EPA would make a call this fall.

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As the clock wound down, however, advocates and critics of possible regulations alike began to question if the EPA would move to target methane emissions.

The move to hold off on regulations, or more voluntary actions to tackle methane from the oil and gas sector appears to push any decision back until January.  

In recent months Democratic lawmakers have pressed the EPA to take action, arguing regulations would help strengthen the president’s climate agenda.

Methane, a potent greenhouse gas, is roughly 80 times more damaging than carbon dioxide over a 20-year timeframe.