Contact: Mollie Michel, email@example.com, 267-981-1648
Denver, CO – Today, the Trump Administration is poised to announce a major rollback of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) methane rule that protects families and communities from harmful air pollution. The rollback would allow the oil and gas industry to release millions of tons of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, and other harmful pollutants, such as volatile organic compounds (VOCs), into the air our families breathe, posing a serious threat to public health and making the climate crisis worse. Today’s rollback flouts EPA’s core mission to protect public health and the environment.
“The federal rule that was rolled back today was modeled after Colorado’s 2014 methane regulations, which were among the strongest in the nation at the time. The state continues to strengthen oil and gas pollution regulations, to further protect public health with support from industry and environmental groups,” said Laurie Anderson, Moms Clean Air Force’s Colorado organizer and mother of five children. Anderson lives half a mile from 18 active oil and gas wells in Broomfield, Colorado. “Unfortunately, Colorado families are also being impacted by oil and gas air pollution from surrounding states that don’t have comprehensive state methane rules, complicating Colorado’s efforts to further reduce emissions.
“Oil and gas operations across the country are still leaking, venting, and flaring dangerous air pollution at alarming rates. This impacts the health of children and families like mine who live, learn, and play nearby. Along with climate-warming methane, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), such as benzene, can be released from oil and gas operations, affecting health and contributing to ground-level ozone or smog. I’m very concerned about the air my children are breathing, especially since the EPA has classified Denver and the Front Range as in serious nonattainment for ozone,” said Anderson.
“Colorado is already suffering the devastating effects of the climate crisis with increased wildfires, rising temperatures, droughts, and flooding,” said Shaina Oliver, mother of four children, member of the Navajo Nation, and Moms Clean Air Force organizer in Denver, Colorado. “Climate change has contributed to the decline in the Colorado River’s flow, which provides drinking water to many neighboring states and tribal communities, like my tribe south of Colorado. The river and mountains are a part of the Navajo oral and ancestral history and must be preserved.
“It is irresponsible for Administrator Wheeler to eliminate vital methane pollution safeguards that protect people in vulnerable communities, such as Black, Latino, and Indigenous people. This is particularly unforgivable at a time when COVID-19—a respiratory virus—is disproportionately impacting these very same communities. As an Indigenous woman with asthma, I am very concerned about the air quality in my home city of Denver. This is a time when the EPA should be strengthening the methane rule, not rolling back commonsense protections.”
Oil and gas operations across the U.S. release over 13 million metric tons of climate-warming methane a year. This pollution accounts for 25 percent of the global warming we are experiencing today. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas more than 80 times more powerful than carbon dioxide in the near term.