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 standards to reduce these emissions are under attack by the Trump administration.

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 8 million metric tons each year. Industrial pollution leaks and is vented and flared 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 over 6 million homes.

This waste is unnecessary as proven, low-cost technologies are already commercially available to slash methane emissions in half.

The oil and natural gas sector is the nation’s largest source of methane, a potent climate pollutant more than 80 times as powerful as carbon dioxide on a 20 year time frame. 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 Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized the first ever standards to reduce methane pollution from new and modified sources in the oil and gas industry. Later in 2016 the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) established common sense standards to reduce wasteful leaks, venting, and flaring from oil and gas operations on federal and tribal lands.

These common sense methane standards are now being undermined by the Trump Administration. If successful, these rollbacks would lead to more wasted American energy and more pollution.

Until recently, the oil and natural gas industry has rapidly expanded without important public health and environmental protections. We need to protect our safeguards; our communities are counting on them.