Breaking: The Environmental Protection Agency, under the Trump administration, just announced that they intend to “sharply curtail” methane regulations. This rollback will keep vital federal oversight away from the vast majority of the nation’s hundreds of thousands of oil and gas facilities for years, worsening emissions, air quality, and public health issues.
Methane is a greenhouse gas far more potent than carbon dioxide, and curbing emissions from the oil and gas industry can substantially reduce emissions at a low cost. The oil and gas industry releases over 13 million metric tons of methane pollution a year, and those losses are valued at over $2 billion a year. This problem will only get worse as industry continues to grow. Methane standards cut waste, improve our air quality, and substantially reduce greenhouse gas emissions- a win for industry, the public, and our environment.
Major industry leaders, such as BP, Shell, Exxon, and Equinor, have spoken out in favor of direct regulation of methane pollution to address climate change. Instead of creating loopholes for corporate polluters, the Trump administration ought to listen to these companies and keep strong methane regulations that cut emissions, reduce waste, and benefit public health.
In the midst of the Trump administration stripping methane pollution regulations, Colorado and New Mexico are stepping up and proposing strong methane standards to protect air quality and address the climate crisis. While states can be leaders on methane, we need to fight these rollbacks in order to limit emissions nationwide.
Strong federal methane standards are critical in order to protect our communities and future generations. There is no time to waste; the EPA needs to be looking to the future and enforcing robust methane regulations to ensure the wellbeing of communities across the country.