SACRAMENTO, Dec. 19, 2017 – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas filed a lawsuit today against the Trump Administration over its decision to suspend 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, Attorneys General Becerra and Balderas underscored that suspending key provisions of the Rule would be arbitrary and capricious as well as contrary to the U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) statutory mandate to prevent waste and ensure the safe and responsible development of oil and gas resources on public lands.
“By suspending the Waste Prevention Rule, the Trump Administration is effectively threatening the health of our families and our environment,” said Attorney General Becerra. “The California Department of Justice won’t stand by and subscribe to this blatant violation of our laws. We are committed to defending the Waste Prevention Rule.”
Since December 2016, California and New Mexico have been defending the Waste Prevention Rule from legal challenges brought in 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, Attorneys General 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.