Statement on President Obama’s Goal to Reduce Oil and Gas Methane Pollution

Methane is over 80 times more potent than carbon pollution when it comes to climate change in the short term

Washington, D.C. — This morning, as part of a series of executive actions by the Obama Administration to combat climate change, the White House announced a goal of reducing the oil and gas industry’s waste of methane, the primary component of natural gas, by 40 to 45 percent below 2012 levels by 2025. The Administration also unveiled a plan to work towards that goal, including methane air pollution standards for new equipment, voluntary measures and informal U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) guidance. However, the plan does not include methane standards for existing equipment.

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Flaring of methane gas associated with Mancos shale oil development in New Mexico. Photo courtesy of Mike Eisenfeld / WildEarth Guardians

Environmental groups have pushed for methane standards for both new and existing sources within the industry because methane is over 80 times more potent than carbon pollution when it comes to climate change in the short term. Currently, the oil and gas industry dumps or loses almost 8 million tons of methane into the air each year—equal to the amount of natural gas needed to heat 6.5 million U.S. homes—through unrepaired leaks and intentional releases, despite the availability of proven, low-cost solutions that could eliminate up to half of this pollution well in advance of the President’s 2025 goal.

read more… – Earthjustice

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