EPA Head Pruitt Tells Oil & Gas Industry it’s OK to Withhold Pollution Data; Move Leaves Communities in the Dark, Punishes Companies that Complied

Statement by Mark Brownstein, EDF Vice President for Climate & Energy

March 2, 2017
Stacy MacDiarmid, (512) 691-3439, smacdiarmid@edf.org

(WASHINGTON – March 2, 2017) EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt today told 15,000 oil and gas companies they are free to withhold vital pollution data from thousands of sites across the country. This abrupt halt to vital data collection will leave communities in the dark on methane and other harmful pollutants in their own back yards, and make it harder for state and federal officials to assess progress on basic health and environmental goals.

Reversing the policy now effectively punishes companies that had already met the first deadline for submitting the data, and rewards those operators who hadn’t reported.

Before taking office, Pruitt had been working with a group of state attorneys general to challenge methane standards for new and modified emissions sources, and just yesterday officials largely overlapping that same group asked EPA to rescind the data request. His overnight response to these requests raises the same concerns about  Pruitt’s commitment to EPA’s core function of protecting public health and the environment that were raised during his confirmation hearings.

Statement by Mark Brownstein, EDF Vice President for Climate & Energy:

“The EPA administrator is telling oil and gas companies to withhold vital data about pollution from the public, and depriving local communities across the country of their right to know what’s going on in their own backyards. It’s a slap in the face for operators that followed the rules, and a reward for those that held back. This is precisely the kind of cozy collaboration with the worst actors in the oil and gas industry that dogged Pruitt throughout his controversial confirmation process.” 

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