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Justin Wasser (Glasgow), +1-202-753-7016, jwasser@earthworks.org | Josh Eisenfeld (Pittsburgh), +1-202-921-6985, jeisenfeld@earthworks.org

BACKGROUND: On Day 1 President Biden ordered the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to write new rules to curb methane pollution from the oil and gas industry. Today, the EPA released two proposed standards for methane pollution from new and existing sources of oil and gas industry air pollution. These new standards go far beyond the Obama-era rules of 2016, but  do not go far enough to address pollution from unlit flares or require frequent enough inspections of covered sources. These important gaps on critical issues must be remedied before the rules are finalized to ensure frontline communities are protected. EPA must use the full extent of the law to hold the oil and gas industry accountable for their pollution and limit the worst impacts of the current climate crisis.  

Methane is a dangerous greenhouse gas that is at least 84 times more powerful than carbon dioxide at warming the planet. Since the start of the fracking boom methane pollution has grown at an alarming rate and repeated studies show oil and gas operations are to blame. A direct-measurement-based, peer review study shows methane to be polluting more than two times than what companies are self-reporting to the government (EPA). Legal and technical experts have estimated that the EPA has the authority under the Clean Air Act to cut methane pollution from oil and gas by up to 65% below 2012 levels by 2025

Statement from Lauren Pagel, Earthworks policy director:

“While this is an important step forward, in a Biden-declared climate ‘code red’ his administration needs to use the full power of the Clean Air Act to cut methane pollution from oil and gas production without industry exemptions. Climate justice during a climate emergency means using every tool in the toolbox including not just a stronger rule, but also declaring a National Emergency on climate change.”

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