Zinke pledges to enforce Obama-era methane rule amid rewrite

FILE - In this June 15, 2005 file photo, flames from methane burning at the landfill in Coventry, Vt. The Trump administration is delay

WASHINGTON (AP) — Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke says the Trump administration will enforce an Obama-era regulation aimed at restricting harmful methane emissions from oil and gas production, even as it seeks to rewrite the rule to be more industry-friendly.

Zinke told a Senate committee Tuesday that Interior will enforce those parts of the methane regulation that have taken effect. That's despite announcing last week that it is postponing parts of the rule that take effect next year.

Under questioning from Democratic Sen. Maria Cantwell of Washington state, Zinke said he agreed that "flaring" of excess methane at drill sites is wasteful. He said he hopes to design a rule that ensures taxpayers get fair value for the gas while not punishing industry.

He told Cantwell: "Ma'am I do not drag my feet."