Taking a significant step forward in protecting America’s health, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy announced the start of the rule-making process to stop the methane leaking from existing oil and gas operations around the country. McCarthy’s intention is to “move expeditiously”.
Please join me in thanking Administrator McCarthy for what she called “a new urgency” on plugging the leaks.
This is major progress. Your voices — moms and dads telling stories of getting sick from air pollution — have made a huge difference in making methane leaks a priority. By plugging methane leaks, the industry will also have to limit the release of dangerous co-pollutants, including carcinogens and neurotoxins.
“It is time for EPA to regulate methane emissions from existing sources, and the President has asked us to do just that.” McCarthy said. “We will work quickly. We will be reaching out to industry in the coming weeks.”
The Administrator did not announce a timeline for the release of a rule. She noted that the process is complex. EPA will “do whatever we can”, with a focus on developing “commonsense, achievable measures” that would “allow industry to continue to grow.”
Now is the time for action – for putting safeguards in place.
Methane is a super-pollutant, causing our planet to warm, that is up to 84 times more powerful than carbon dioxide in the first two decades after its release. Losing methane to the air also means we are wasting a precious resource–$1 billion in lost revenues to the oil and gas industry every year.
Make no mistake: many in the oil and gas industry will fight these protections fiercely—even though a handful of responsible companies are showing that leaks can be detected and plugged, saving them money.
So it is up to you to keep your voices loud. Keep sharing your stories. Keep demanding protection.
We will hold Administrator McCarthy to her promise to act with new urgency.
And thank Administrator McCarthy and all the hard-working folks at EPA for putting in motion these vital public health protections.