SACRAMENTO, Calif. (Legal Newsline) — California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas announced a lawsuit Dec. 19 against the Trump administration over a decision to suspend the Waste Prevention Rule.

The rule went into effect Jan. 17, 2017, but on Dec. 8 the administration suspended it—an illegal suspension according to Becerra and Balderas. The attorneys general argue the suspension of the rule is arbitrary and capricious, and contrary to a statutory mandate given to the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to prevent waste and ensure that any oil and gas resources extracted from public lands are extracted in a safe and responsible way.

The Waste Prevention Rule, Becerra and Balderas said, goes along with that statutory mandate, which mandates that oil and natural gas producers must cut wasteful leakage of methane on federal lands.

“By suspending the Waste Prevention Rule, the Trump administration is effectively threatening the health of our families and our environment,” Becerra said. “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.”

California and New Mexico have been engaged in defending the Waste Prevention Rule since December 2016. The rule has been legally challenged in the U.S. District Court for the District of Wyoming by industry groups and the states of Wyoming, Montana, North Dakota and Texas.

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