Pruitt plans to halt health and waste protections from oil and gas pollution

Statement by Mark Brownstein, Vice President, Climate and Energy, Environmental Defense Fund

April 19, 2017
Stacy MacDiarmid, (512) 691-3439,

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt announced yesterday that the agency will formally reconsider clean air safeguards that currently require oil and natural gas companies to monitor and reduce their methane emissions, and to place a hold on the leak inspection and repair standards in the meantime.

The action came in direct response to petitions from the American Petroleum Institute and three other oil and gas industry lobby groups.

The methane standards enacted last year help reduce harmful pollution by requiring operators to find and fix leaks using technologies and practices that have been deployed effectively by states and companies, providing a level playing field and protecting the health of all Americans.

The EPA announcement comes the same week that the American Lung Association released its State of the Air report underscoring the air pollution risks facing communities nationwide.

Statement by Mark Brownstein, Vice President, Climate and Energy, Environmental Defense Fund:

“Scott Pruitt is acting at the explicit behest of the American Petroleum Institute and the industry’s most powerful lobby groups. Rolling back these rules benefits the worst actors in the business, at the expense of both responsible companies and ordinary everyday Americans.

“U.S. oil and gas companies release 8- to 10 million metric tons of methane a year – enough gas to supply every home in Ohio or Pennsylvania for a year. It’s a huge waste of resources that also has an outsized impact on our climate. Plugging the leaks is straightforward and cost effective, which is why standards like these have been so successful at the state level. There’s no good reason to lower the bar.

“The best in the business already know how to fix this problem using available, low-cost emissions monitoring technologies. States like Colorado and Wyoming have also put in place protections that leverage these commonsense technologies.

“Once again, this administration is protecting polluters at the expense of the health of American families and their communities.”

-Mark Brownstein, Vice President, Climate and Energy, Environmental Defense Fund

# # #

Environmental Defense Fund (, a leading international nonprofit organization, creates transformational solutions to the most serious environmental problems. EDF links science, economics, law and innovative private-sector partnerships. Connect with us on EDF Voices, Twitter and Facebook.