The Bureau of Land Management has delayed the implementation of an administrative rule that would more closely regulate and require companies to prevent the leaking, flaring and venting of methane.
Methane is one of most potent contributors to climate change by trapping heat in the atmosphere. In 2016, NASA scientists found oil and gas production to be responsible for a methane cloud hanging over the Four Corners region.
The waste prevention rule will now go into effect January 2019.
"The administration has a statutorily required obligation to prevent the waste of this valuable resource on public lands, a resource that belongs to the taxpayers," a group of federal lawmakers, including Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM), wrote to U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.