We need strong national methane rules. Here's how we get there.

Karin Rives

New York’s statewide ban on fracking is a vindication for communities around the country that have been hit hard by unconventional natural gas production, writes Fred Krupp, Environmental Defense Fund’s president, in a Dec. 22 op-ed piece in The Washington Post.

It demonstrates what can happen when oil and gas producers erode public trust by brushing aside legitimate questions – and reinforces the urgent need for strong, sensible regulation.

The growing controversy surrounding our natural gas industry has created a decisive moment for President Obama.

As the administration prepares a policy to reduce methane emissions from the oil-and-gas sector, the president has an opportunity to cut both energy waste and climate pollution – in addition to protecting the ecosystem and public health.

In a second op-ed piece published Dec. 17 in The Hill, Fred lays out five principles that should guide the national methane standards the Obama administration is expected to announce soon:

  1. A voluntary policy won’t do the job.
  2. The policy must specifically target methane.
  3. The policy must be comprehensive.
  4. The policy must match the scale of the problem.
  5. The policy must look to the states for models.

Today, there are no limits on methane pollution from most operations in the booming oil and gas sector – the largest industrial source of these greenhouse gas emissions.

Even as states and municipalities continue to restrict drilling  New York’s decision was the second rebuke in a little more than a month, following several others over the past couple of years  the United States will continue to consume vast quantities of natural gas.

Like many other organizations, EDF is working hard to accelerate the shift to clean, renewable energy sources. But we also recognize the truth: We won’t break our dependence on fossil fuel for years to come, Fred writes.

This is why the Environmental Protection Agency can and must regulate the oil and natural gas sector to protect communities and end the era of unlimited industrial methane pollution.

Learn more from Fred’s articles in The Washington Post and The Hill.

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