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Media Contact:

Justin Wasser, (202) 753-7016, jwasser@earthworks.org

Background:  One year ago, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued an initial draft rule to reduce methane and health hazardous air pollution from oil and gas operations. That draft rule did not fully address the issues presented by oil and gas pollution, such as routine flaring,  the hundreds of thousands of wells with leak-prone equipment left to forgo regular inspections, or the need for community monitoring for more effective enforcement of regulations. These supplemental draft rules are intended to fill gaps left in the prior rulemaking.

Statement from Earthworks Policy Director Lauren Pagel:

“Neither President Biden nor the world can meet global climate commitments without aggressive cuts to oil and gas methane pollution. A strengthened supplemental draft methane rule from the EPA is welcome and necessary, and must be improved to be as strong as the law allows. Our climate and the communities harmed by this pollution demand nothing less.

“All oil and gas operations have the potential to pollute and the EPA expansion of monitoring requirements for the majority of production sites, including some orphaned wells, will help protect public health and the climate. 

“Without resources to fund an army of regulators to keep this industry honest, these rules will fall short and companies will continue to hide the true cost of fossil fuel extraction. EPA’s inclusion of third parties as partners is essential to enforce the rules, and must include a requirement that companies act on verifiable proof of pollution from communities.

“EPA methane standards are just a first step toward the action we need to avoid climate catastrophe. Everywhere our certified thermographers go, they find oil and gas pollution – even in states with the strongest protections. President Biden must use his power to declare a climate emergency that will further protect health and prevent climate catastrophe by stopping fossil fuel expansion and speeding the transition to a clean, just energy future.”