August 29, 2019 - Washington, DC: Green America strongly opposes the EPA’s proposal to eliminate direct regulation of methane from the EPA’s New Source Performance Standards. Methane is a potent driver of the climate crisis, with far greater short-term impacts than carbon dioxide. Methane is 84 times more powerful than carbon dioxide in driving global warming in the first 20 years. The U.S. oil and gas industry releases 13 million metric tons of methane from its operations each year, and without strong methane pollution standards, the climate impacts will be devastating.
Methane leaks also harm local communities, with residents near leaking facilities reporting significant health issues including nausea and severe headaches. Many of the impacted communities are low-income and the residents are often people of color. Preventing methane leaks is also a potent social justice issue.
Regulating and reducing methane leaks from the nation’s thousands of oil and gas facilities is a necessary and judicious use of the EPA’s authority. Several major fossil fuels companies agree, and actually support EPA regulation. Andrew Wheeler and Donald Trump should not open a loophole for the rest of the oil and gas industry so they can pollute at will. The EPA needs to end this proposed rollback of methane regulation and instead enforce regulations to protect our communities and climate.