CONTACT: Sasha Tenenbaum
Senior Manager, Media and Public Engagement
Today, President Biden and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released an updated rule to cut methane and other harmful pollutants from new and existing oil and gas operations. The EPA proposal includes stronger standards that would reduce methane emissions from covered sources by 87 percent below 2005 levels. Members of Moms Clean Air Force have been demanding oil and gas methane protections for a decade. This proposal is an important step towards addressing the climate crisis and protecting the health and safety of communities across the country.
The updated proposal improves on many of the standards in the original draft rule released by EPA in 2021, and addresses concerns of the hundreds of thousands of people who submitted public comments urging EPA to strengthen their methane protections, and the thousands of people from across the country who sent petitions to President Biden urging his administration to move swiftly to publish these updated methane rules.
Some improvements include:
- Strengthening 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
- Taking steps towards addressing high emission incidents with a new monitoring response program
- Requiring that abandoned wells are subject to inspections until closure
“If we want to protect our families from climate disaster, we must move quickly to cut methane pollution – a super-potent greenhouse gas – from our atmosphere,” says Laurie Anderson, a Colorado State Coordinator for Moms Clean Air Force and Broomfield City Council Member. “I live just a half mile from a large-scale oil & gas operation where ongoing air quality monitoring continues to pick up spikes in emissions from these recently developed well sites. Members of my community have experienced the very real health impacts from respiratory issues to nose bleeds.”
“Mothers like me who have children with asthma, know too well why we need transparency and that air quality monitoring is a must to advance environmental justice for Black, Latino, Indigenous, and economically challenged communities” says Shaina Oliver, a Moms Clean Air Force Colorado Coordinator and Indigenous Rights advocate. “We deserve to know the impacts of the air we breathe on our health. This is about bringing justice in every breath for all communities.”
There is more to be done and Moms Clean Air Force looks forward to working with the EPA to make sure these updated methane rules protect children’s health from all sources of oil and gas methane pollution including small wells, routine flaring, and polluting equipment.