WASHINGTON – The comment period to weigh in on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) methane emissions standards for oil and gas operations closed on Monday. Environment America, U.S. PIRG and Environmental Action delivered more than 32,000 comments to the EPA calling on the agency to enact the strongest possible standards to prevent methane leaks.
Methane is an especially potent greenhouse gas that traps 85 times as much heat in the atmosphere as carbon dioxide over 20 years. Oil and gas operations leak large amounts of this harmful pollutant into the air, accelerating global warming and threatening public health. President Joe Biden signed onto the Global Methane Pledge in November to reduce world methane emissions 30% below 2020 levels by 2030.
Experts from U.S. PIRG and Environment America released the following statement:
“We applaud the EPA for taking this first step toward ensuring oil and gas companies will no longer be allowed to freely leak methane into our atmosphere,” said U.S. PIRG’s Environment Campaign Director Matt Casale. “From the giant methane cloud we saw over Florida to the ongoing release of this dangerous gas from the massive Permian Basin of Texas, it’s clear that we must get this problem under control. Holding oil and gas companies accountable and reducing methane emissions would be a significant climate victory for all Americans.”
“We can no longer afford to give methane polluters a free pass to damage our environment and our health,” said Environment America’s Federal Legislative Associate Max Wengroff. “To tackle climate change, we need to crack down on the oil and gas companies that freely leak methane into our atmosphere. Stronger standards can stop harmful leaks and flares of planet-warming methane. This action will help the Biden administration make good on its commitment to reduce methane by 30% by 2030 by signing the Global Methane Pledge.”