“With this methane safeguard rollback President Trump’s EPA just sacrificed public health and climate for oil and gas industry profits. And he did so despite some of the world’s largest oil and gas companies endorsing the need for methane rules.
Even with EPA’s methane safeguards in place, we’re not doing enough to prevent catastrophic climate change. To do that, we must end the oil and gas era and make a rapid, clean and just transition to the 100% renewable economy as soon as humanly possible. But the first rule of getting out of a hole is to stop digging. Unfortunately Trump’s EPA just replaced a shovel with a backhoe.” — Earthworks’ Policy Director Lauren Pagel
Today’s proposal would eviscerate part of the EPA safeguard that cuts methane and associated toxic air pollution from new oil and gas production (the NSPS rule). According to the Office of Management and Budget, this is first of two parts to completely gut the existing rule. Today’s proposal focuses on undermining Leak Detection And Repair (LDAR) requirements among other issues. This is repeal is unwarranted and unwise for many reasons, including:
- EPA’s rules are the only such safeguards in some oil and gas producing states, including Texas, Louisiana and Oklahoma.
- A NASA study published in January confirms the global methane increase that coincided with the onset of the U.S. shale boom is largely attributable to oil and gas — undermining industry claims that they are reducing total methane emissions.
- This pollution is ubiquitous and ongoing. Earthworks visually documents this pollution across the country on an ongoing basis.
- The state of Colorado has had stronger rules in place for years without negatively impacting production. Colorado’s rules were written in cooperation with oil and gas companies and have been endorsed by the state’s oil and gas industry.
- In February ExxonMobil’s wholly-owned shale subsidiary XTO publicly announced its support for regulations to control methane and associated toxic air pollution, and in the process committed to stronger action than required by the Obama-era EPA rules Trump’s EPA is attempting to roll back