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 as of today, there are currently no federal safeguards in place to limit the amount of methane pollution that's being emitted by the oil and gas industry.

Every day, the oil and gas industry leaks dangerous and wasteful industrial pollution like methane, benzene and other dangerous pollutants into our air — more than 9 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 8 million homes.

The oil and natural gas sector is the largest industrial 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.

The oil and natural gas industry is rapidly expanding without important public health and environmental protections, and urgent action is needed. One of the many critical measures needed to protect the health and safety of our citizens from the impacts of oil and gas development is to reduce methane pollution from this industry through federal safeguards.

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.