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The White House wants to cut an Environmental Protection Agency climate protection program by 70%, reducing its funding to $29 million, a source familiar with the Trump administration's proposed budget told Reuters on Thursday.

The original request, sent to companies in November 2016, required oil and gas producers to provide a broad range of information about their methane emissions and equipment, as well as the feasibility of controls created to limit methane release.

But some environmental advocates argue withdrawing the request lets oil and gas companies keep valuable information from the public.

The EPA responded to the states' complaints within one day, saying it will look into whether it's necessary for the agency to collect information about the industry's methane emissions.

Oil and gas wells, pipelines and other equipment leak a large, but not fully understood, quantity of methane into the atmosphere.

An ongoing project to clean Chesapeake Bay would see its funding slashed from $73 million per year to $5 million, and 38 programs - from climate change efforts to industrial cleanups to Alaskan native villager funding - would but eliminated outright.

In a press release, the agency announced that, effective immediately, an Obama-era information collection request has been cancelled.

The press release notes that the withdrawal came after the agency received a letter on Wednesday from nine state attorneys general and two governors of states with fossil fuel interests.

"We believe the EPA's requests to be an unnecessary and onerous burden on oil and gas producers that is more harassment than a genuine search for pertinent and appropriate information", Paxton wrote.

According to commentators, the move underscored the former Oklahoma attorney general's deep, friendly ties to an industry he was expected to police.

"By taking this step, EPA is signaling that we take these concerns seriously and are committed to strengthening our partnership with the states", Pruitt said in a statement.


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