New clean air standards will protect Americans' health, environment, EDF says in Senate testimony

EPA’s new air standards for hydraulically fractured natural gas wells and oil and natural gas storage are an important first step toward reducing harmful air pollution, EDF President tells Senate subcommittee

June 19, 2012
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NEWS RELEASE

Contact:
Mica Odom, 512-691-3451,
modom@edf.org

(Washington, DC – June 19, 2012)  New air standards for hydraulically fractured natural gas wells and oil and natural gas storage rules from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are an “important step forward, one that has been commended by a broad variety of interests and is an example of smart, cost-effective regulation,” Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) President Fred Krupp said in his testimony before the Senate today.

“These common sense measures are a win-win-win: they reduce pollution, conserve valuable domestic energy resources, and in some cases, actually save producers money. As a result, representatives of the public health community and business community commended EPA’s action. It is critical that we build on these clean air measures if our nation is to fulfill the President’s promise in his State of the Union to develop natural gas without putting the health and safety of our citizens at risk,” Krupp said in his testimony.

With this action, the EPA finalized vital clean air measures to reduce harmful pollutants discharged from a variety of oil and natural gas activities. The standards limit harmful ozone precursors and air toxics, and as a co-benefit limit methane emissions, a potent climate forcer. They build on leadership from states like Colorado and Wyoming, utilizing cost-effective, proven technologies that, in many cases, plug leaks throughout the system.

EPA’s standards will achieve these essential reductions through the implementation of proven and highly cost-effective practices and technologies. This results in saving both a domestic energy resource and saving producers money. EPA estimates that the combined rules will yield a cost savings of $11 to $19 million in 2015, because the value of natural gas and condensate that will be recovered and sold will offset costs.

Though these clean air measures are a win-win-win for a healthier environment, for our economy, and for our energy security, they also leave important issues unaddressed and are only a starting point in the nation’s efforts to address the serious air pollution burdens associated with oil and natural gas development. The nation must also address methane emissions directly, put in place rigorous protections for already-existing sources of air pollution and address the extensive emissions from wells that co-produce oil and natural gas. These and other solutions are necessary to address the range of public health and environmental impacts. It is critical that we build on these clean air measures if our nation is to fulfill the President’s promise in his State of the Union address to develop natural gas without putting the health and safety of our citizens at risk.

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Environmental Defense Fund (edf.org), a leading national nonprofit organization, creates transformational solutions to the most serious environmental problems. EDF links science, economics, law and innovative private-sector partnerships. See twitter.com/EDFEnergyEX; facebook.com/EnvDefenseFund; and http://blogs.edf.org/energyexchange/.