This is a critical step in the effort to protect wildlife from harmful carbon emissions that fuel climate change.
Continuing the Administration’s proactive agenda to stem the growing climate crisis, the Environmental Protection Agency published a final rule today to limit methane pollution in the oil and gas sector. Methane is a harmful greenhouse gas, with 80 times the climate-warming potential of carbon dioxide in the short term. Over 9 million tons of methane leaked in 2013 from oil and gas wells and equipment, even though the technology to capture it is already available. This wasted gas is worth approximately $1 billion and could power more than 8 million American homes.
Collin O’Mara, President and Chief Executive Officer of the National Wildlife Federation, said today:
"Thousands of wildlife species and their habitats are facing grave threats from a rapidly changing climate. These impacts threaten America’s outdoor heritage and the hunting, fishing, hiking, and birding opportunities for all Americans. By finalizing the rule to curb methane pollution from new oil and gas facilities, EPA will cost-effectively reduce these threats by preventing the release of a potent source of greenhouse gas. We commend the agency for moving ahead with this sensible, affordable measure that will both protect wildlife and our natural resources, while also conserving a valuable resource that can be used to power our economy. We also encourage EPA to move swiftly to reduce methane leakage from existing sources of oil and gas development as soon as possible.”
Methane leaking from hundreds of thousands of existing oil and gas wells accounts for the largest human-caused source of methane emissions. These fugitive emissions should be captured to power American homes instead of wasted in a way that harms wildlife and our environment. Wildlife are already suffering from habitat loss and fragmentation due to crisscrossing oil and gas infrastructure, and now they are facing an increased occurrence of drought, wildfires, pest invasions, food shortages and other impacts worsened by climate change. Reducing greenhouse gas pollution from the energy sector needs to be a priority if wildlife are to survive and thrive in a changing climate.
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More than one-third of U.S. fish and wildlife species are at risk of extinction in the coming decades. We're on the ground in seven regions across the country, collaborating with 53 state and territory affiliates to reverse the crisis and ensure wildlife thrive.