Clean Air Council Raises Concerns for Methane Emissions

by Duane Nichols on September 8, 2019

Atmospheric methane on steep rate of increase

To Those Concerned About Air Pollution and Those Who Should Be Concerned

Letter from the Clean Air Council, August 31, 2019

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, led by former coal lobbyist Andrew Wheeler, just proposed the complete elimination of methane controls in the 2016 New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) for oil and gas facilities.

Methane is the main component of natural gas and is 87 times more potent than carbon dioxide at warming our planet over a twenty-year timeline. Scientists with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change stated in their latest report that the world has only 11 years to cut greenhouse gas emissions, including methane, by 45% to avoid catastrophic climate change.

Methane leaks occur at every step along the oil and gas supply chain. When methane leaks, it is accompanied by emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which include known carcinogens that also contribute to ground-level ozone (the main constituent of smog).

Pennsylvania’s state standards for methane pollution apply only to oil and gas sources constructed after August 8, 2018, while the NSPS covers facilities stretching back three years earlier (September 18, 2015). Pennsylvania residents would also be negatively impacted by additional air pollution traveling across the state line from oil and gas operations in Ohio and West Virginia and from additional climate change impacts exacerbated by methane.

If methane is completely removed from the NSPS, it may affect the current legal mandate that requires EPA to establish methane controls for existing oil and gas operations that predate the NSPS. Even large oil and gas companies like Exxon and Shell are demanding the administration abandon its plan to remove methane from the NSPS.

Tell the EPA we need to control methane pollution.

Sincerely, Joseph Otis Minott, Esq., Executive Director and Chief Counsel, Clean Air Coalition, Philadelphia, PA

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: