As Donald Trump continues to roll back on environment regulations set by his predecessor, one study reveals that methane is spreading fast all over the ocean floor. This could prove to have disastrous consequences for the U.S. and the rest of the world.
Trump keen to reverse Barack Obama’s surveys
In the era of the Trump presidency, it seems controlling methane is not a priority. Recently, new Environmental Protection Agency administrator Scott Pruitt said it is formally withdrawing a previous request made to owners and operators in the oil and natural gas industry. The EPA under the Obama administration has requested information as part of an “operator survey.”
This includes data on the number and types of equipment found at all onshore oil and gas production facilities throughout the U.S. There is also a “facility survey.” It aims to get more detailed information on sources of methane emissions. Moreover, companies must also specify the emission control devices or practices that it is using. This request was sent to more than 15,000 owners and operators. The EPA had requested for companies to no longer answer the two surveys earlier this month.
According to a report from Inside Climate News, the Obama administration had required the survey as part of a “critical step” in controlling methane. The emissions of this odorless gas have been hard to measure. Getting data regarding this is necessary to be able to determine if accelerating natural gas production is worsening the effects of global warming in the world.
Research found microbial methane feeding huge methane pool on the seafloor
According to a study by researchers at the Queen Mary University of London (QMUL), methane is the largest contributor in increasing temperatures worldwide. What’s more alarming is that the team also found microbial methane production in certain parts of the seafloor. This has been feeding a huge methane pool which extends from Panama to Mexico and Hawaii. Methane is produced in spots with significantly low oxygen. According to the National Ocean Service, these are zones where marine life is unable to survive.
It is believed that an increase in global warming can widen the said dead zones. According to a report from International Business Times UK, QMUL’s Felicity Shelley said, “Scientists are predicting these low-oxygen zones will get larger and closer to the surface when the oceans warm.”
The widening of methane pools is, indeed, something that should alarm everyone. However, it seems Trump’s EPA is the least bit concerned about it.