U.S. Court of Appeals Denies Attempt by Industry, Allied States to Block Oil and Gas Methane Protections

July 9, 2024
Sharyn Stein, 202-905-5718, sstein@edf.org

(Washington, D.C. – July 9, 2024) The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit today rejected an attempt by Oklahoma and allied states, along with oil and gas trade associations, to block the Environmental Protections Agency’s methane standards for the oil and gas sector.

“EPA’s commonsense oil and gas methane protections deliver vital reductions in climate and health-harming pollution. The court’s decision today ensures that the safeguards will begin to deliver benefits to communities that have long been overburdened by oil and gas pollution,” said Rosalie Winn, Environmental Defense Fund’s Director and Lead Counsel for Methane and Clean Air Policy. “EDF looks forward to continuing to vigorously defend these standards – which are firmly rooted in both EPA’s core authority to protect public health and a detailed factual record – against meritless legal attacks.” 

Methane is a potent greenhouse gas that has more than 80 times the heat-trapping capacity of carbon dioxide in the short term. Reducing methane pollution from oil and gas is one of the fastest, most cost-effective ways to address the climate crisis while also safeguarding public health for millions of Americans.

EPA’s safeguards will reduce tens of millions of tons of climate-damaging methane and other toxic, smog-forming pollution from oil and gas leaks, venting and flaring.  

Opponents had asked the court to stay the standards, which would have put more pollution into our air while challenges to EPA’s protections were duly considered by the courts. EDF and a coalition of health, environmental, and community groups opposed the request for a stay, and have intervened in support of EPA’s standards in litigation on the merits. 

Today Judges Katsas, Rao, and Childs of the D.C. Circuit denied requests for a stay, which means the protective standards will remain in place during litigation. 

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