Methane pollution

From left: homes damaged by a hurricane; natural gas flaring at an industrial facility; girls playing near a natural gas drilling rig; pollution from oil and natural gas operations shown by specialized infrared cameras.

Industrial methane pollution poses a significant threat to public health, fuels climate change and wastes energy resources. There are proven, low-cost solutions to cut this dangerous and wasteful pollution. But there are currently no federal safeguards in place to limit the amount of methane pollution that's being emitted by oil and gas industry facilities in use today.

Every day, the oil and gas industry leaks dangerous and wasteful industrial pollution like methane, benzene and other dangerous pollutants into our air — Almost 10 million [metric] tons each year. Industrial pollution leaks and venting from oil and natural gas wells, pipelines, tanks and other equipment costs billions of dollars' every year — and wastes the amount of gas it takes to power 7 million homes.

The oil and natural gas sector is the nation's largest source of methane, which is a potent climate pollutant more than 80 times as powerful as carbon dioxide on a 20 year timeframe. Oil and gas sources also emit other dangerous pollutants that harm Americans' health, including smog-forming volatile organic compounds and cancer-causing pollutants like benzene.

In May 2016 the EPA finalized the first ever standards to reduce methane pollution from new and modified sources in the oil and gas industry. This was a crucial step, but doesn’t protect the millions of Americans across the country who live near oil and gas operations.

The oil and natural gas industry has rapidly expanded without important public health and environmental protections, and further action is needed to protect the health and safety of our citizens.

Proven, low-cost technologies are already commercially available to cut methane emissions from the oil and gas sector by 50% in the next 5 years. Reductions of this magnitude are achievable only by issuing federally enforceable methane pollution standards governing new and existing oil and gas sources on public, private, and tribal lands.