Statement: U.S. EPA proposes stronger action against methane pollution

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Progress will reduce dangerous climate and air pollution from oil, gas drilling 

PHILADELPHIA – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a draft supplemental methane rule Friday meant to cut harmful air pollution and global warming emissions from oil and gas operations across the nation. After the EPA unveiled a previous draft of this rule, thousands of Pennsylvanians spoke out for stronger methane protections, many of which have been incorporated into the latest version of the rule. However, loopholes could allow unmitigated releases of dangerous global warming pollution and other cancer-causing emissions to continue, especially through the practice of routine flaring and venting of methane directly into the atmosphere. 

Pennsylvanians — and all Americans – will be able to testify at public hearings on January 10 and 11, 2023 and submit comments on the rule until February 13, 2023.

Ellie Kerns, climate associate with PennEnvironment Research & Policy Center, released the following statement:

This new proposal would be a breath of fresh air for Pennsylvanians. For too long, methane pollution from the oil and gas industry has jeopardized public health and driven climate change. Today’s proposal from the EPA would take much-needed steps to address these harmful emissions.

“Pennsylvania is in the crosshairs of climate change and air pollution. We need the strongest possible safeguards from methane pollution to protect our health, tackle climate change, and build a safer and stronger commonwealth.

“Climate change will threaten Pennsylvania indefinitely until we rein in methane, a potent global warming pollutant. We commend the EPA for putting forth a strong draft rule that would plug leaks, improve monitoring, and tackle the substantial emissions from low-performing wells.

“More progress is needed, however. This new proposal could continue to allow fossil fuel companies to vent and flare methane directly into the open air, a process linked to massive amounts of climate-warming emissions. To better protect the climate and public health from these emissions, the EPA should end the harmful practice of routine flaring.”

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PennEnvironment Research & Policy Center is dedicated to protecting our air, water and open spaces. We work to protect the places we love, advance the environmental values we share, and win real results for our environment. For more information, visit www.pennenvironmencenter.org.

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