The Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday officially halted oil and natural gas regulations imposed by former President Barack Obama a year ago, while it reconsiders the regulations in line with industry requests.
The decision was announced as President Trump is expected to imminently announce his decision to withdraw from the 2015 Paris climate change agreement.
The EPA action officially stayed portions of the 2016 New Source Performance Standard for oil and natural gas fracking operations for 90 days. The rules are meant to curb methane emissions, a potent greenhouse gas, from fracking operations.
The action is in line with Trump's executive order that directed the EPA to review the oil and gas rules, while rolling back the Obama administration's climate change rules on utilities. The climate rules are a key component of meeting emission reduction commitments under the Paris deal. The oil and gas rules are also included in Obama's climate change agenda.
Wednesday's action by the agency puts in place a 90-day stay on the parts of the fracking rules that cover fugitive emissions, pneumatic pumps and professional engineer certification requirements included under the 2016 Obama administration rule.
"Sources do not need to comply with these requirements while the 90-day stay is in effect," the agency said.
The EPA sent a letter last month to the energy industry indicating its intent to reconsider the oil and gas rules.