EPA ELIMINATES REGULATION of METHANE EMISSIONS EXACERBATING CLIMATE CHANGE and INCREASING HEALTH RISKS in FRONTLINE COMMUNITIES.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, in the Trump administration’s latest retreat from federal action on climate change, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized its 2019 proposal to rescind emissions limits for methane from new facilities that produce, process, transport, and store oil and natural gas.
EPA also rescinded emissions limits for ozone-forming volatile organic compounds (VOCs) at new oil and gas transportation and storage facilities, while retaining VOC limits for new production and processing facilities.
Methane accounts for about 10% of U.S. Greenhouse gas emissions and is 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide in trapping the earth’s heat, according to estimates used by the EPA.
The oil and gas industry are the largest source of methane emissions in the U.S. Methane and VOCs can leak from equipment all along the oil and gas production and distribution chain.
By law, regulation of new sources is a prerequisite for regulation of existing sources from the industry. Removing methane emissions from new sources also remove EPA’s authority to limit methane emissions on existing sources.
In addition, VOC emissions from oil and gas facilities can increase ground-level ozone levels, commonly known as smog. They have a significant effect on people’s health, increasing the frequency and seriousness of asthma attacks, contributing to respiratory problems and heart disease, and even causing symptoms in otherwise healthy people. Communities of color and indigenous communities, children, the elderly, and people with existing respiratory conditions are the most at risk from ozone pollution.