Published: 1:59 pm, Thu. Jul. 6th, 2017Updated: 1:56 pm
The attorneys general of California and New Mexico sued the Trump administration Wednesday for delaying new rules to reduce methane leaks on federal lands.
The lawsuit is the latest in a string of legal challenges by California Attorney General Xavier Becerra against the administration on environmental actions. He and New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas say the new rules will ensure cleaner air.
The regulations require natural gas and oil producers to update equipment and take other actions aimed at stopping methane leaks.
They also say companies must pay royalties on leaked gas on federal lands. The federal government must share royalties with states.
California takes in more than $82 million annually in royalties from federal mineral extraction, while New Mexico sees about $470 million, according to the lawsuit.
Opposition from energy companies and several states, including Wyoming, prompted the U.S. Department of the Interior to delay pieces of the rule. The postponed pieces are not set to take effect until January 2018.
On Monday, a federal appeals court halted the Environmental Protection Agency’s attempt to delay another set of rules on methane emissions.
Methane is a greenhouse gas that traps more heat in the planet’s atmosphere than carbon dioxide.