Federal rules target the costly waste of methane

Oil and gas companies throw away $330 million of gas belonging to the public yearly

Natural gas flares near a community in Colorado. Federal rules aim to lower risks of natural gas development.

WildEarth Guardians

The U.S. loses about $2 billion worth of natural gas every year.

That’s through leaks and intentional releases of methane – the main component of natural gas and a potent climate pollutant – throughout the oil and gas system.

On federal and tribal lands alone, oil and gas companies waste more than $330 million of natural gas annually that could heat homes, power vehicles or generate electricity.

New rules focus on industry

Fortunately, the EPA has set national standards that, for the first time, directly regulate methane emissions from the country’s top source of methane, the oil and gas industry. Now, new facilities must meet methane pollution standards.

In addition, the Bureau of Land Management finalized rules in late 2016 that will reduce natural gas waste and methane emissions on federal and tribal lands – saving taxpayers money and protecting public health.

Lawmakers are using an obscure law called the Congressional Review Act to dismantle the BLM rules and other common-sense policies.

Meanwhile, President Trump has signed an executive order to undo critical climate and public health protections, including provisions seeking to overturn these limits on methane pollution from the oil and gas industry.

How we’re addressing methane

Strong leadership at the state level is another path to limiting methane pollution. Our work in Colorado, Pennsylvania, Ohio and California is paying off as those states show what’s possible.

We’re also pioneering better ways to find leaks and encouraging cost-effective ways to contain them.

Policy resources

Our experts provide analysis and commentary:

More about the rules and the problem of methane leakage »

Media contact

  • Stacy MacDiarmid
    (512) 691-3439 (office)
    (512) 658-2265 (cell)