EPA's Proposed Rules Would Restrict Toxic Air Pollution from Natural Gas, Oil

Long-Awaited Safety Update Will Protect Health, Environment as Industry Grows

WASHINGTON (July 28, 2011) -- The proposed emission standards released today by the Environmental Protection Agency for natural gas and oil would enhance protections against harmful toxic air pollution, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council.

“This long-overdue EPA proposal will help clean up the oil and natural gas industry, and that's good news to families throughout the country living near oil and natural gas operations,” said Amy Mall, senior policy analyst at the Natural Resources Defense Council. “The proposal will protect communities by reducing exposures to pollutants that can cause cancer, such as benzene, and preventing ‘bad air days’ caused by ozone smog. This proposal will finally address some significant pollution problems that have gone unaddressed for far too long.”

The agency, by issuing the first-ever federal air quality standards governing hydraulic fracturing, also is recognizing some of the inherent health risks associated with this method of natural gas extraction.

EPA’s air pollution standards for oil and natural gas remained unchanged for more than a decade and, in one case, since 1985. The natural gas industry has experienced unprecedented expansion in recent years and today’s proposed rule will require the oil and gas industry to clean up some of its dirtiest air pollution using controls that can save companies money and run equipment more efficiently.