According to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, the Interior Department misused a provision of the Administrative Procedure Act when it stalled key provisions of a rule aimed at reducing methane venting and flaring on public and tribal lands.
Judge Elizabeth Laporte of the District Court for the Northern District of California said the Interior Department cannot use a provision in the Administrative Procedure Act to delay the rule on methane emissions on federal land, as it tried to do in June.
The case was decided on Wednesday, multiple news agencies reports:
In the case decided Wednesday, the agency’s Bureau of Land Management tried to argue that since it is allowed to postpone the “effective date” of a rule, it can also postpone the “compliance date,” which is in January 2018.
“Effective and compliance dates have distinct meanings,” the judge wrote, noting that the rule became effective in January 2017, under the Obama administration, but companies did not have to comply for a year.
“Not only is this argument contrary to the plain language of the statute, but it collapses the clear statutory distinction between the two periods before and after a rule takes effect,” she said, declaring the delay to be “unlawful” and overturning it.
The case was filed by California, New Mexico and other Democratic states, joined by environmental groups.
As a result, this decision puts a snag in the Presidents agenda to remove regulations that “hinder” companies, also it will require companies to comply with greenhouse gas emission standards set by Obama for 2018.
Do you agree with this ruling or is this judicial activism?