U.S. Methane Pollution Remains Stubbornly High While EPA Relaxes Vital Protections

Environmental Defense Fund statement from Matt Watson, Vice President, Energy Program

April 11, 2019
Stacy MacDiarmid, (512) 691-3439, smacdiarmid@edf.org

(AUSTIN, TX) EPA released its final Greenhouse Gas Inventory today, showing oil and gas methane emissions are basically unchanged. Methane pollution from oil and gas activity worsens climate change, yet technologies are available to significantly reduce it. Unfortunately, the Trump administration is actively working to roll back important methane reduction regulations.

“To see virtually no change in methane emissions is simply unacceptable. Reducing methane across the oil and gas industry is not rocket science—it is straightforward and cost effective to do. EPA needs to listen to the public officials, communities and even oil and gas companies, who are insisting they keep these important rules in place.”

· Matt Watson, Vice President, Energy Program

In the coming weeks, the Trump EPA is expected to send the White House a proposal to eliminate direct regulation of methane emissions from oil and gas facilities. This, along with an earlier methane rollback, is an effort to dramatically weaken pollution limits at new and recently built oil and gas wells, and prevent any oversight of pollution from the nearly one million wells that went into operation before current methane rules were in effect.

Real-world methane emissions are much higher that EPA estimates. Comprehensive science conducted over the past decade has concluded EPA is underestimating emissions by about 60 percent, as a result of outdated reporting requirements and modeling formulas. Just today, yet another report showed that methane emissions in New Mexico are approximately five times more than is reported to the EPA.

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