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Over the past few years, oil and gas companies like Shell, BP, TotalEnergies, ExxonMobil, and EQT, have made headlines for their public support for the EPA taking action to cut methane. But that support has amounted to little more than just words on paper.

It is long past time for oil and gas companies to be held responsible for the countless promises they’ve made to cut methane. We are at a critical moment for our climate. Every day of inaction is pushing us closer to the point of no return.

That is why it is so vital that the media — editors, reporters, and even nightly news producers — stop taking them at their word and start asking them for the receipts.

Now that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has finalized the first-ever oil and gas methane rules, it is time to put them to the test. Implementing the EPA rules will be painstakingly slow: in the best-case scenario, it will take 3-5 years. We can’t waste that much time.

The test starts now

If you’re an oil and gas company that claims to understand your role in the climate crisis AND has said it wants to take climate action, there’s no reason to wait. Shell, BP, TotalEnergies, ExxonMobil, EQT, and every other oil and gas company that has advocated and supported action to cut methane pollution can and must start now. 

Many of these companies have supported rules the EPA just enacted for years. But if these companies were true to their word, they would have acted already. 

No room for excuses.

We aren’t talking about small businesses here. We’re talking about major fossil fuel companies coming off record-breaking years of profits — specifically, the ones who have already acknowledged the need for fast methane action.

So, for all those reading, this is a simple test they all should be passing by now… if they were honest about action on methane:

  • If you said you’d do something urgently, you should probably do it… urgently, especially when it has life-or-death consequences. 
  • Consumers, local officials, state and federal elected officials, investors, or anyone interacting with oil and gas companies should ask if these companies are sincere about their climate promises.
  • Media professionals — particularly journalists working on climate, climate justice, and energy issues — have the most critical role here. It’s time to write the stories about what oil and gas companies ARE NOT doing. Ask the companies to show the receipts for how they have cut methane — and if they won’t tell you, come into the field with Earthworks and see for your own eyes through our optical gas imaging cameras. 

Oil and gas companies want the public to believe they are accountable for their impact. We know they’re lying to us, but EPA and past industry promises have finally given us the litmus test for their sincerity.