Why do we need methane rules?
Stopping methane pollution is a key part of the urgent fight against climate change. Methane, an extremely potent heat-trapping greenhouse gas, is the major component of natural gas. Wherever oil and gas are being drilled, compressed, processed, and sent through pipelines, you can find methane leaking along with other harmful pollutants that make climate change worse and can harm our health.
Members of Moms Clean Air Force worked hard to finalize EPA’s 2016 rule to limit methane emissions from oil and gas operations, also called the New Source Performance Standards (NSPS). This methane rule cut climate-warming methane pollution from newly built or recently modified oil and gas operations. These standards reduce climate and air pollution.
Do methane rules work?
Yes. Methane rules will cut air pollution contributing to climate change and protect public health. Reductions in methane pollution will have the benefit of reducing associated harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that can cause asthma attacks, respiratory diseases, and even cancer.
Unfortunately, the Trump Administration weakened and reversed vital methane rules in 2020, giving the oil and gas industry a free pass to pollute our air. For far too long, communities of color and low-income communities have been disproportionately impacted by pollution because oil and gas operations are often located within their communities. But air pollution from oil and gas operations can travel long distances, contributing to increased ozone or smog even for those living hundreds of miles from oil and gas operations.
Here’s how moms are fighting to protect methane standards—and how you can help.
Our children deserve the best protections from oil and gas pollution. This is why we are urging the Biden administration to cut methane pollution from new and existing oil and gas operations 65% by 2025 compared to 2012 levels.
Thankfully, President Biden has issued an executive order to review Trump’s rollback of the methane rule by September 2021. We need to reinstate and further strengthen standards that limit methane pollution from newly built and recently modified oil and gas operations. But that is not a complete solution. These standards don’t address methane pollution from all the existing wells, pipelines, and compressor stations that are already built and running across the country. To make meaningful progress in fighting climate change, we need national standards that limit dangerous climate pollution, not just from new sources, but also from existing oil and gas operations.
Meanwhile, we have been tirelessly pushing state lawmakers to step in to protect our families from dangerous climate pollution. States can step up and serve as models for federal rules. Moms Clean Air Force is working hard on the ground at the state level to urge states to take bold steps to slash harmful methane pollution from the oil and gas industry.
Some states have already implemented state-based methane protections. Colorado was the first state to adopt methane rules in 2014 and strengthened these rules in 2019 to further protect public health and the climate.
In Pennsylvania, general permits that set methane standards for new and modified sources of natural gas pollution were finalized in 2018. Since then, Moms Clean Air Force doggedly pushed the state forward with a rule to cut methane pollution from the thousands of existing oil and gas operations in the state. The rule is on track to be finalized in the summer of 2021.
Other states, such as New Mexico, have drafted state level rules to cut methane pollution from newly built and recently modified oil and gas operations. We hope to see the New Mexico rule finalized by the end of 2021.
You can help us fight Trump administration rollbacks by contacting your representatives in Congress. Ask them to support a strong federal methane rule that will cut methane pollution 65% by 2025 compared to 2012 methane levels. And ask them: What are they doing to make sure that the oil and gas industry cuts harmful methane emissions?