What are the Methane New Source Performance Standards?
Stopping methane pollution is a key component of the urgent fight against climate change. Methane, an extremely powerful greenhouse gas, is the major component of natural gas. Wherever natural gas is drilled or fracked, as well as while it is transported through pipelines and compressor stations, methane can be leaked or vented.
Members of Moms Clean Air Force worked hard to get the 2016 Methane New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) finalized to protect our children from the oil and gas industry’s air pollution. These standards reduce climate and air pollution.
Are the Methane New Source Performance Standards working?
Yes. These methane safeguards, in place since 2016, help protect children, especially those living near oil and gas operations, from fracking pollution. The methane safeguards have the added benefit of reducing other pollutants from fracking that can trigger asthma attacks, respiratory diseases, and even cancer.
The Methane New Source Performance Standards are a step in the right direction because they address methane pollution from newly built or modified oil and gas operations. But they are not a complete solution. They do not address methane pollution from the thousands of existing wells, pipelines, and compressor stations across the country. In order to make meaningful progress in fighting climate change, we need national standards that tackle dangerous climate pollution from existing natural gas operations as well as from future drilling and fracking.
Now the Methane Standards are under attack by the Trump administration and an EPA that is no longer working to protect people’s health.
In 2018, Trump’s EPA proposed weakening national requirements for repairing methane leaks and provided loopholes for the oil and gas industry to continue emitting harmful pollutants. Weakening these standards means more pollution in our air contributing to climate change and is a blatant attack on communities’ health and well-being.
EPA has proposed a rollback that would significantly weaken the reasonable standards found in the current rule, allowing hundreds of thousands of tons of additional methane, volatile organic compounds, and hazardous air pollutants to enter our air and threaten our children’s health while wasting tens of millions of dollars of American natural gas.
Here’s how moms are fighting to protect methane standards—and how you can help.
Moms Clean Air Force has taken up the fight again. We brought parents from across the country to Denver, CO, in 2018 to deliver testimony at a public hearing about the proposal to weaken methane protections. We helped gather and deliver thousands of comments to the public docket in opposition to the proposal. And we have been keeping the pressure on through meetings and conversations with lawmakers at the state level.
Meanwhile, we have been tirelessly pushing state lawmakers to step in to protect our families from dangerous climate pollution. States can step up and lead where the federal government is falling behind. Moms Clean Air Force is working hard on the ground at the state level to urge states to take bold steps to slash dangerous climate 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 that included standards that require regular leak detection and repair. These standards have been effective in dramatically reducing detected leaks.
In 2018, Pennsylvania issued new General Permits that set methane standards for new and modified sources of natural gas pollution. Moms Clean Air Force doggedly pushed the state toward this important milestone through hundreds of meetings with state legislators in their home districts and in the state capitol.
Other states such as California, Ohio, and Wyoming have also taken steps to implement leak detection and repair programs at oil and gas facilities. These states demonstrate the importance, feasibility, and cost-effectiveness of addressing harmful pollution from the oil and gas sector.
You can add your voice by contacting your governor to demand that your state be a leader in fighting harmful methane pollution. You can help us fight Trump administration rollbacks by contacting your representatives in Congress. Ask them to oppose the methane standards rollback proposed by Trump’s EPA. Ask them to hold Trump’s EPA accountable for the dangerous climate pollution that will be unleashed by this rollback. And ask them: What are they doing to make sure that the oil and gas industry cuts harmful methane emissions?