EPA’s Methane Pollution Limits Should be Strengthened to Protect Communities and Climate

WASHINGTON, D.C. – NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) and other groups are submitting public comments today on the Environmental Protection Agency’s updated proposed federal standards to cut dangerous methane pollution from the nation’s oil and gas industry. NRDC also submitted comments on EPA’s updated methodology to measure the benefits of curbing greenhouse gases (their “social cost”). The Agency will finalize both in the coming months.

The following is a comment from David Doniger, Senior Strategic Director for NRDC’s Climate and Clean Energy Program:

“EPA has proposed strong steps to curb unchecked oil and gas methane pollution, which is supercharging climate change and endangering the health and wellbeing of communities nationwide—including frontline communities living near harmful air pollution. Now it must finish the job.

“That means finalizing the strongest possible limits on emissions of methane and other dangerous pollutants from the oil and gas industry. The final rules should cover all producing wells, do more to eliminate routine flaring of methane gas, and monitor and curb emissions from storage tanks and other equipment, especially badly maintained ‘super-emitters.’ The rules can ensure more public access to methane monitoring data from infrared cameras, drones, planes, and satellites, so that communities are properly informed about nearby pollution and can press for state and federal enforcement.

“Methane is the fastest-growing driver of the climate crisis. Taking the strongest action now to rein in this climate super pollutant is the swiftest way to slow warming and reduce the rising misery and costs imposed by extreme heat, storms, floods, wildfires and drought.

“EPA should act assertively to protect people and our climate from the menace of methane pollution, and without delay.”

The following is a comment from Mohit Chhabra, Technical Lead and Adviser for NRDC’s Climate and Clean Energy program:

“In addition, NRDC supports EPA's updated, science-based analysis of the social cost of greenhouse gases, which raises estimates of the economic damage from greenhouse gas pollution from earlier determinations. This is the best tool for EPA to determine and weigh the global climate impact of greenhouse gas emissions when developing regulations.”

NRDC joined other groups in submitting three sets of comments, which are available here:

  • Joint Environmental Comments on Standards of Performance for New, Reconstructed, and Modified Sources and Emissions Guidelines for Existing Sources: Oil and Natural Gas Sector will be posted here later today.
  • NRDC comments on EPA External Review Draft of Report on the Social Cost of Greenhouse Gases: Estimates Incorporating Recent Scientific Advances.
  • Joint Comments with other organizations on the same EPA External Review Draft.

NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) 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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