California’s and New Mexico’s Attorneys General, together with the California Air Resources Board, have secured a preliminary injunction in their case against the U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s suspension of the Waste Prevention Rule.
The Rule went into effect on January 17, 2017, but was illegally suspended by the Trump Administration on December 8, 2017.
The Rule requires oil and natural gas producers to cut wasteful leakage of methane on federal lands.
In the lawsuit, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas underscored that suspending key provisions of the Rule would be arbitrary and capricious.
Such a move, they said, would contradict the U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s own findings that the Rule was necessary to prevent waste and ensure the safe and responsible development of oil and gas resources on public lands.
Becerra’s legal victory in this case marks his eighth environmental win against the Trump Administration.
“Donald Trump threatened the health of our families and our environment with his attempt to suspend a commonsense rule that conserves public resources and protects us from hazardous air pollution,” Becerra said. “Today’s court order blocking that suspension reminds Trump and his Administration that they are not above the law.”
Last year, the Republican-led U.S. Senate voted against repealing the Waste Prevention Rule, despite President Trump’s desire to kill it.
Since December 2016, California and New Mexico have been defending the Waste Prevention Rule from legal challenges brought in the U.S. District Court for the District of Wyoming by industry groups and the States of Wyoming, Montana, North Dakota, and Texas.
On July 5, 2017, Becerra and Balderas filed a lawsuit against the Trump Administration for illegally delaying the implementation of the Rule.
On October 4, 2017, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California ruled in favor of the two state Attorneys General, forcing the Administration to immediately implement the Rule.
The next day, BLM published a notice of proposed rulemaking in hopes of suspending this critical environmental measure.