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Washington, D.C. — Today Earthworks announces the expansion of its Community Empowerment Project (CEP) to push state governments to cut the oil and gas industry’s climate and health damaging air pollution. The expansion is made possible by a 3-year, $3 million grant by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

“As Congress and the Trump Administration assault federal climate and health safeguards, communities are standing up to protect themselves from oil and gas air pollution,” said Earthworks’ Executive Director Jennifer Krill. She continued, “We are energized by our partnership with the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation to bring new tools to communities at risk and demand that state governments and the oil and gas industry take action before it is too late.”

Later this week the Senate will likely vote on whether to permanently rescind the Interior Department’s rule to cut oil and gas methane pollution on public lands. The Trump Administration recently stalled the implementation of the Environmental Protection Agency’s New Source Performance Standards for methane, and proposed cutting the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s budget by 31 percent.

“Colorado and California have demonstrated that states can act to cut oil and gas climate and health pollution,” said Earthworks’ Policy Director Lauren Pagel. She continued, “Working in partnership with frontline communities, we can convince states across the country to do the same.”

The expanded Community Empowerment Project will work with communities to:

  • Identify polluting oil and gas facilities with a heightened focus on six states that account for an estimated 50 percent of methane emissions from oil and gas
  • Reveal normally invisible volatile organic compounds like methane and benzene with optical gas imaging infrared cameras
  • Use evidence to file complaints with regulators and push state governments to use their existing regulatory authority to stop emissions and violations where they occur
  • Convince states to increase requirements for the oil and gas industry to cut its methane and associated hazardous air pollution

“With certified thermographers using the industry-standard FLIR GasFinder 320 infrared camera, Earthworks will step in to do some of the environmental monitoring that industry has promised it would do on its own, but hasn’t,” said Earthworks’ Energy Program Director Bruce Baizel. He continued, “As the renewable energy economy grows, our Community Empowerment Project will help to manage the decline of fossil fuels by identifying immediate actions that also protect the climate and communities in harm’s way.”