EPA Methane Rollback Endangers Health & Climate

New NRDC poll shows public overwhelmingly backs even stronger limits on methane pollution, including Republicans by 2-1 margin

WASHINGTON – As the Trump Environmental Protection Agency today attempts to roll back curbs on the oil and gas industry’s rampant emissions of the powerful climate pollutant methane, NRDC (the Natural Resources Defense Council) released polling showing that three-quarters of Americans in key states strongly support updating and strengthening limits on methane pollution.

The polling covers 10 battleground and conservative states, including Pennsylvania, where EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler is set to finalize the rollback.

The EPA is finalizing rules repealing standards limiting methane emissions from new oil and gas equipment nationwide and exempting existing operations, responsible for about 85 percent of the industry’s emissions, from any controls at all.

A statement follows from David Doniger, Senior Strategic Director of Climate & Clean Energy at NRDC:

“The Trump EPA is giving the oil and gas industry a green light to keep leaking enormous amounts of climate pollution into the air. We cannot protect the health of our children and grandchildren, especially in the most polluted and endangered communities, if EPA lets this industry off scot-free.

“This dangerous rollback is especially misguided because Americans, including Republicans by a 2-1 margin, are fully on board with keeping strong limits on methane.

“We will see EPA in court.”

NRDC Poll on Methane Limits

NRDC released polling today showing that 75 percent of Americans in 10 key states support updating and strengthening federal standards to restrict the intentional release of methane from oil and gas wells and to require companies check for and repair gas leaks. Republicans are supportive 2-1 of the standards.

The poll surveyed Americans in Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Maine, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Utah and Wisconsin.

A memo on the poll questions, methodology and findings is here: https://www.nrdc.org/sites/default/files/executive-action-methane-standards-polling.pdf


The oil and gas sector is the largest U.S. industrial emitter of methane, which is the second-biggest driver of climate change after carbon dioxide. Pound for pound, methane packs 87 times the heat-trapping wallop of carbon dioxide over 20 years. Oil and gas operations emit an estimated 15 million metric tons of methane in 2018—equivalent to 1.3 billion tons of carbon dioxide, which equals the annual carbon dioxide emissions of 335 coal-fired power plants.

A 2015 report from NRDC and others found EPA can cut the industry’s methane pollution by at least half in less than a decade, while dramatically reducing other harmful air pollution at the same time, by issuing federal standards for oil and gas infrastructure nationwide. 


The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 3 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world's natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Bozeman, MT, and Beijing. Visit us at www.nrdc.org and follow us on Twitter @NRDC. 

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