Washington, DC — Today, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) put forward a proposal to weaken the agency’s standards limiting methane pollution from new oil and gas facilities. These standards — finalized in 2016 after 900,000 public comments — are common sense measures that recognize the reality of a booming domestic oil and gas industry and a rapidly warming climate partly caused by methane pollution. The EPA’s proposal would allow more releases of methane, a potent greenhouse gas and an important resource, threatening wildlife and public health. This step is expected to be followed soon by a final gutting of parallel standards at the Bureau of Land Management, leaving little federal regulation of methane emissions in place.
“Methane emissions exacerbate climate impacts — extreme weather, wildfires, and rising seas — and threaten wildlife and communities alike,” said Collin O’Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation. “This regulatory rollback runs counter to the EPA’s mission and scientific consensus that reducing methane emissions is one of the most cost-effective ways to act on climate. EPA should reverse course and implement the existing methane rule so that, at minimum, future oil and gas facilities will be a cleaner and more efficient.”
The 2016 EPA methane rule set performance standards for new and modified oil and gas facilities, requiring companies to regularly look for and repair leaks in infrastructure, and to reduce intentional flaring and venting of methane pollution. Methane has 80 times the global warming potential in the near-term of carbon dioxide, and is the primary component of natural gas.
For more information about methane pollution and wildlife and public health impacts, the 2016 rule, and a timeline of regulatory rollbacks, see:
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