By Valerie Volcovici
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Greenhouse gas emissions from America's largest industrial facilities fell 2 percent in 2016 to 2.99 billion tonnes, led by a large cut from the power sector, according to data published on Thursday by the Environmental Protection Agency.
The decline, which came in the final year of Barack Obama's presidency, brings the total drop in U.S. greenhouse gas emissions from large industrial facilities over the past five years to nearly 10 percent.
The decline in emissions in 2016 was led by a 4.6 percent cut from U.S. power plants, to 1.88 billion tonnes from 1.97 billion tonnes in 2015, according to the data. That marks an 18 percent decline from five years ago, when the EPA started gathering data.
Emissions from the natural gas and oil sectors, however, including pipelines and gathering systems, rose to 283 million tonnes in 2016 from 233 million in 2015.
The EPA's mandatory greenhouse gas reporting program requires all facilities that emit over 25,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent per year across all sectors to report their emissions to the agency.
President Donald Trump has blasted limits imposed by Obama on the emissions scientists blame for climate change, saying they are too costly for industry. Trump has sought to roll them back, and has also announced he will withdraw the country from a global pact aimed at countering global warming.
The EPA this year removed many pages on its website dedicated to climate change and greenhouse gas emissions information, but kept the page for the reporting program because Congress requires it.
The 2016 greenhouse gas emissions results appeared on the site without notice or a press release. An EPA official did not respond to a request for comment.
For 2016, 7,631 facilities ranging from power plants to oil refineries submitted a report to the program, by a March 31 deadline.
(Reporting by Valerie Volcovici; Editing by David Gregorio)