The EPA is preparing to roll back methane regulations as soon as this week, according to reports. The new, proposed rule would no longer require oil and gas producers to have systems and procedures in place to detect methane leaking from their operations, including from pipelines and storage sites. Methane is a greenhouse gas that traps approximately 25-times more heat than carbon dioxide, according to EPA estimates. While small and independent oil and gas companies applaud weakening methane leak detection regulations, several big oil and gas companies oppose it, worried unrestricted methane leaks could undermine the millions of dollars they have spent promoting gas as a cleaner alternative to coal. According to the Journal, the White House wanted to weaken rules even further and only require annual inspections, but EPA warned the benefits of semi-annual inspections were so large that anything less might not be legally defensible. White House officials acquiesced, however, after EPA administrator Andrew Wheeler said devising a rationale for reducing inspection requirements would delay the rollback until after the election. (Wall Street Journal $, New York Times $, Politico Pro $)