CONTACT: Sasha Tenenbaum
Senior Manager, Media and Public Engagement
Today, President Biden and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the finalization of new EPA methane standards. These will establish comprehensive protections from methane and other harmful pollution for families living near new and existing oil and gas operations. Cutting methane emissions will reduce the release of associated toxic air pollutants known to cause significant health impacts in children and other vulnerable populations. The new EPA methane standards will also benefit everyone, globally, in reducing the U.S. contribution of methane to our dangerously changing climate.
Moms Clean Air Force has been fighting for oil and gas methane protections for over a decade. Our concern has been laser-focused on the damage done to people’s health, and to the destabilization of our climate. Today’s announcement is a testament to the impact of collective action by the hundreds of thousands of concerned people who submitted public comments over many years urging EPA to strengthen the methane protections. Thankfully, the Biden Administration and the EPA under Administrator Regan’s leadership have prioritized methane protections in their climate goals.
“As a mother, grandmother, and recently a great grandmother, who has witnessed firsthand the impacts of air quality issues and climate change on my health and the health of the children around the country, I applaud the EPA for the finalization of this important rule,” said Hazel Chandler, Arizona Field Organizer for Moms Clean Air Force. “Cutting methane pollution from oil and gas operations is an urgent priority in slowing down the rate of climate warming, something we are seeing firsthand in Arizona with each summer hotter than the last. I applaud this bold action by the Biden Administration and EPA to move towards a livable future for our children.”
Moms Clean Air Force’s National Field Director Patrice Tomcik also responds to the announcement, saying: “As a mother who lives with oil and gas operations in my community and has fought for EPA methane rules for almost a decade, I am acutely aware of how important this action will be to protect children’s health and safety. Oil and gas operations emit climate-warming methane and other harmful pollutants that can increase the risk of severe health impacts, including respiratory illnesses and cancer, especially in children. As a parent of a cancer survivor, I fear for my son’s health every day as he goes to school a half mile from fracked gas wells, knowing that exposure to oil and gas air pollution could put him at a greater risk of having cancer again. I applaud President Biden and EPA for their leadership on protecting children from the impacts of air pollution and climate change.”
Two short videos of Patrice Tomcik, Moms Clean Air Force’s National Field Director, speaking about the methane rule are available here for media use.
The new rules address the top two sources of methane pollution from the oil & gas industry by doing the following:
- Establishing strong leak detection and repair (LDAR) requirements, including requiring inspections at small wells with leak-prone equipment which are responsible for half of all methane emissions nationwide;
- Maintaining zero-emitting pneumatic equipment requirements.
In addition, these rules establish an EPA response program that takes important steps to address high emission incidents that often impact communities living on the frontline of oil & gas operations.
As Moms continue to demand urgent and bold action on climate change, we thank President Biden and EPA Administrator Regan for taking this critical step in the fight to protect our families from pollution and climate change. Our work is far from done. Moms Clean Air Force looks forward to working with EPA and state agencies to implement these protections for all existing wells and to reduce oil and gas pollution as we build toward a clean energy future for this generation and the next.