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Tribal advocates keep up legal pressure for fair political maps; 12-member jury sworn in for Trump's historic criminal trial; the importance of healthcare decision planning; and a debt dilemma: poll shows how many people wrestle with college costs.

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Civil rights activists say a court ruling could end the right to protest in three southern states, a federal judge lets January 6th lawsuits proceed against former President Trump, and police arrest dozens at a Columbia University Gaza protest.

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Rural Wyoming needs more vocational teachers to sustain its workforce pipeline, Ohio environmental advocates fear harm from a proposal to open 40-thousand forest acres to fracking and rural communities build bike trail systems to promote nature, boost the economy.

Poll: Two-Thirds of Texas Voters Support Tougher EPA Methane Rules

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Tuesday, August 15, 2023   

As conservationists await finalization of revised rules governing methane on public lands, a new survey shows a majority of Texans support stronger limits. The poll by four environmental groups, including the Sierra Club, queried Texas voters about the Environmental Protection Agency's supplemental rules proposed in 2022, to limit methane emissions driven by oil and gas projects. Some Texas officials argue the methane regulations will kill jobs.

Cyrus Reed, conservation director of the Sierra Club's Lone Star Chapter says 72% of the 600 registered voters polled believe otherwise.

"Voters do care," he said. "They care about air quality, they care about climate change - and a majority of them actually think regulations will lead to more job growth than any job loss that potentially could occur in the oil and gas field."

Rule finalization is expected ahead of November's United Nations Climate Change Conference in Dubai. The EPA took hundreds of comments from people across the country earlier this year about its proposed methane rules, hearing from callers in leading oil-and gas-producing states such as Texas, New Mexico and Pennsylvania.

Revised regulations are central to the EPA's strategy under President Joe Biden to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions. Reed noted that Texas, the largest oil-producing state in the nation, does not have broad, independent methane regulations outside of those imposed by the federal government.

"It's also important for Texans to know that because we haven't had political leadership on these issues in Texas, we're really counting on the EPA to go forward with a regulation that not only covers new wells, but covers existing wells where we have a lot of the problem," he explained.

The EPA's methane regulations would reduce emissions 87% below 2005 levels by 2030. Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, El Paso and San Antonio made the top 25 most polluted U.S. metro areas in the 2023 "State of the Air" report by the American Lung Association.

Disclosure: Sierra Club contributes to our fund for reporting on Climate Change/Air Quality, Energy Policy, Environment, Environmental Justice. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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