Methane Rule Rollback Jeopardizes Wildlife
By rolling back critical environmental safeguards that prevent methane pollution, the Trump Administration’s Environmental Protection Agency is once again selling out to the oil and gas industry. Methane is one of the primary components of natural gas and is a superpollutant that threatens wildlife by speeding up the pace of climate change.
That means more moose in the Northeast suffering from booming tick populations brought on by increasing temperatures and shorter winters. More sea turtles in Florida dying from harmful algal blooms worsened by warmer water. And an increasingly low snowpack in the Rocky Mountains putting more wolverine populations in peril. The list of climate change impacts goes on and on.
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Voluntary Efforts by the Oil And Gas Industry to Cut Methane Pollution Won’t Work
The infrastructure that is used to extract and transport natural gas can leak methane, and the rule instituted by the previous administration was intended to prevent this harmful pollution by requiring new and modified facilities.
Current Agency leadership argues that voluntary efforts by the oil and gas industry are enough to reduce methane pollution, and that additional regulations are unnecessary. However, new data shows that methane emissions are 60% higher than current Environmental Protection Agency estimates, which severely undermines its argument that industries can self-regulate.
Compounding this problem, the Bureau of Land Management is also planning to effectively gut its methane waste rule for public lands, adding to the already serious environmental threat posed by this superpollutant.
Let’s Use Effective Tools to Fight Climate Change and Protect Wildlife
Climate change is one of the biggest environmental threats of our time. While natural gas releases less carbon into the atmosphere than coal during combustion, the leaking, venting, or flaring of methane during production significantly undercuts this benefit.
The previous administration recognized this, and issued strong and cost-effective rules limiting methane waste and pollution. As demand for natural gas grows, it is critical that we keep these common sense safeguards intact.
There have been many efforts during the Trump Administration to roll back environmental protections in order to shift costs away from the industries that are responsible for the pollution. But the damage caused by runaway climate change and other impacts of methane pollution amount to a far greater cost, as well as a severe threat to wildlife and public health.
In addition to the methane rule rollbacks, the Environmental Protection Agency is also planning to stall out fuel-efficiency standards in cars and light trucks, which will result in an extra 321 million to 931 million metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Transportation is the biggest source of carbon emissions in the country. Combined with the methane rule rollbacks, putting clean cars in neutral is nothing but a shameless bid to line the pockets of the oil and gas industry, selfishly endangering wildlife and communities already feeling the impacts of climate change.