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Today, the Obama administration finalized the first national standard to cut methane pollution from new and modified sources of oil and gas production. The rule will also cut associated pollution emitted with methane: volatile organic compounds like benzene, a carcinogen.

With an infrared camera that makes visible this normally invisible pollution, Earthworks has documented more than 200 releases across the United States. And we detect this pollution at the vast majority of sites we visit. In response to the new rule, Earthworks’ Policy Director Lauren Pagel said:

“The Obama administration’s new national standard to cut methane pollution from oil and gas facilities is an important step to protect our climate and the health of nearby communities.

But even more important is the Obama administration’s April announcement that they will begin the process to cut pollution at the million-plus existing oil and gas operations. Only then will communities now harmed by this pollution finally get some relief.

It’s essential to remember that no matter how stringent our methane pollution controls, burning fossil fuels pollutes the climate. That’s why there’s no substitute for replacing fossil fuels as quickly as possible with truly clean energy alternatives like renewables and conservation.”