The EPA has issued a 90-day stay on oil and gas emissions standards

The Environmental Protection Agency announced Wednesday that it will put a halt to some of the Obama-era regulations on the oil and gas industry. Using its Clean Air Act authority, the EPA has issued a 90-day stay of the fugitive emissions, pneumatic pumps, and professional engineer certification requirements from the 2016 rule, according to a release from the agency.

The rule, completed last year under former President Barack Obama, was due to go into effect on June 3.

The EPA said it expects to prepare a proposed rule and launch a public comment period after the stay.

In the wake of the decision, a number of environmental groups have vowed to sue the Trump Administration. The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) issued a statement saying the group would go to the courts to fight “the Trump administration … giving its friends in the oil and gas industry a free pass to continue polluting our air.”

The Environmental Defense Fund also said it would sue the EPA to block a rollback of the rule.

Oil and gas companies split on best path forward; administration announces U.S. will pull out of Paris climate agreement

The EPA rollback came on the eve of the Trump administration’s statement as to if it would pull the U.S. out of the Paris climate agreement that his predecessor joined. The Trump administration in fact officially announced Thursday that it would pull out of the Paris climate agreement, but said it is still open to a different deal.

“The United States will withdraw from the Paris climate accord,” said Trump. “But enter into negotiations to reenter the Paris accord or another deal.”

Trump said that if another deal cannot be negotiated to his satisfaction, he would be fine with not entering into another agreement.

Many independent oil and gas producers in the U.S. are viewing the potential exit from the deal as a positive, but larger international majors are more hesitant to see the country leave the Paris accords behind.

“It means a lot to BP and Exxon and Shell, but the mid-majors, large independents that aren’t involved internationally, don’t care a whole lot about Paris,” said Charles McConnell, a former top official in the Energy Department during the Obama administration and now executive director of Rice University’s Energy and Environment Initiative. “Their concern is, what does it do to the U.S., and do people pay more or less for gasoline?”

ExxonMobil (ticker: XOM) CEO Darren Woods continued to champion the position of his predecessor, current Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, writing in a letter to Trump last week imploring him to “maintain a seat at the negotiating table.”

“The United States is well positioned to compete within the framework of the Paris agreement with abundant low-carbon resources such as natural gas, as well as innovative private industries including the oil, gas and petrochemical sectors,” Woods wrote.

But outside the largest oil and gas companies, support for Paris within the industry is hard to find.

Bill Stevens, chief lobbyist for the Texas Alliance of Energy Producers, an oil and gas trade group, said climate change regulations driven by Paris threatened to impose huge costs on his more than 3,000 member companies, reports the Houston Chronicle.

“We have a lot of respect for Exxon, but our primary membership is smaller independents,” he said. “They’ve been struggling for the last two to three years with oil prices, trying not to go into bankruptcy.”

Pulling out of the deal completely would force majors like Exxon to have different policies for their U.S. operations and their international projects. Many operators had hoped that, rather than exiting the deal altogether, the Trump administration would renegotiate the Paris accord, putting more emphasis on developing carbon capture systems for fossil fuels and less on renewable energy.

Legal Notice