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
“A strong EPA oil and gas methane rule would help to protect frontline communities like mine from methane and other harmful air pollution,” said Vanessa Lynch the Pennsylvania State Coordinator for Moms Clean Air Force and mother living near Pittsburgh . “We know families who live near oil and gas operations are more likely to experience adverse birth outcomes, cancers, asthma attacks and respiratory problems. Many of these outcomes would be significantly reduced with protections that include low-producing oil and gas wells, which are are responsible for approximately half of the methane emitted from all well sites in the United States while accounting for only 6% of the nation’s oil and gas production. The methane footprint of these small wells is enormous and can’t be ignored.”
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.