As global methane levels surge, advocates and experts urge Biden administration to take action
(Washington, D.C.) — Today, in a letter to the Biden administration, 134 environmental, public health, and advocacy organizations are urging President Biden to direct the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to use the full power of sections 111(b) and 111(d) of the Clean Air Act to reduce methane air pollution from new and existing sources of oil and gas development by 65% by 2025.
The letter comes just two days ahead of President Biden’s Leaders Summit on Climate on April 22, where the President is expected to detail his plans to reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas with approximately 25 times the warming power of carbon dioxide over a 100-year period, and methane pollution from the oil and gas industry is fueling the climate crisis. Other pollution released alongside methane, such as benzene, can worsen asthma and affect lung development in children, and increase the risk of cancer, cause immune system damage, and neurological, reproductive, and developmental problem
In early April, new research from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) showed global methane levels surged to a record high in 2020, despite sweeping shutdowns during the COVID-19 pandemic. Without immediate action to address the methane pollution crisis, the threat to our health and our planet will continue to grow.
In their letter, the signers underscore that we have the tools and technology to cut methane pollution from new and existing oil and gas operations by 65 percent of 2012 levels by 2025. To meet this target, President Biden must leverage the authority granted to the EPA under section 111 of the Clean Air Act to establish protective standards against air pollution.
The following are statements from groups who signed onto this letter to the Biden administration:
“On his first day in office, President Biden made it clear that protecting our planet, and the health and safety of our communities would be a top priority for his administration. We have made incredible progress, but we must do more to protect God’s creation, including taking action to curb methane pollution from the oil and gas industry,” Mitch Hescox, President of the Evangelical Environmental Network.
“Air pollution released alongside methane during oil and gas development is dangerous, and harmful to the most vulnerable among us, including unborn children. Our community is committed to protecting life, and we share a responsibility to tackle the methane pollution crisis and defend our childrens’ future. We urge President Biden to use every tool available to him to curb methane pollution from the oil and gas sector as he works to protect public health and address the climate crisis.”
“In the absence of leadership at the state-level, Texans living on the frontlines of oil and gas development are desperate for strong national protections from methane and other climate pollution. In his first days in office, President Biden made a commitment to tackle climate change and fight for environmental justice,” said Ranjana Bhandari, the founder and Chair of Liveable Arlington. “President Biden can follow through on those promises by requiring oil and gas operators to reduce methane and associated toxic pollution 65 percent below 2012 levels in the next five years. He must do it for America and the world. He must do it for Texas. He must do it for the well-being and prosperity of frontline communities like mine and for future generations.”
“Methane pollution from the oil and gas industry disproportionately harms Native communities across the country, and fossil fuel companies continue to wreak havoc on our water sources and our health” said Adella Begaye, the board President of Diné Citizens Against Ruining our Environment (Diné CARE). “The Navajo communities and our families need protections now because we are in drought from the climate crisis and without water for hygiene to combat COVID19. President Biden has pledged to protect public health and safety, prioritizing environmental justice. That means taking action to cut methane pollution from oil and gas facilities near our communities so we can sustain our way of life on our homeland.”