President Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Thursday announced they would seek a 40 to 45 percent reduction in methane emissions below 2012 levels by the oil and gas industry by 2025, and to meet that commitment both governments said that they would regulate emissions from existing sources, not just new wells.
The Environmental Protection Agency will begin drafting regulations immediately, according to a joint statement from the two leaders.
The oil and gas industry is the single largest source of methane emissions in the United States and globally. Mark Brownstein, vice president of climate and energy at the Environmental Defense Fund, said that the proposed cut in emissions of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, would be like closing a third of the world’s coal plants.
“This is arguably the single biggest, most impactful, most immediate thing we can do to slow the rate of warming right now,” Brownstein said.
Obama and Trudeau also pledged to safeguard the Arctic with a series of initiatives that will protect more than 10 percent of the marine areas, designate shipping corridors with low environmental impact, and establish new offshore oil and gas leasing plans, White House officials said …
Yes, you read that right. The EPA “will begin drafting regulations immediately” to reduce methane emissions from ALL new and existing oil and gas facilities. This is the victory we’ve worked so hard for!
“Methane is upwards of 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide in warming the planet,” said Gina McCarthy, the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. “It has become clear that it is time for the E.P.A. to take additional action to regulate existing sources in the oil and gas sector.”
EPA Taking Steps to Cut Methane Emissions from Existing Oil and Gas Sources
By Gina McCarty, EPA Administrator
The Sierra Club said the actions are “key steps along the path to keep dirty fuels in the ground and transition to a 100 percent clean and renewable energy economy.”
In a statement Earthworks Policy Director Lauren Pagel said:
“With today’s announcement, President Obama just got serious about oil and gas methane pollution.
“Prior to this announcement, his Administration has largely focused on pollution from yet-to-be-built oil and gas facilities. This announcement is of enormous importance because it deals with the main problem — existing facilities.
“This is great news for the climate. But it’s better news for the communities forced to live with the more than 1,000,000 active oil and gas facilities across the United States. Earthworks has documented more than 180 cases of oil and gas air pollution with an infrared camera specifically designed to detect this type of pollution.
“No matter how stringent methane pollution controls are on new or existing facilities, you can’t change science. Burning fossil fuels pollutes the climate. That’s why there is no substitute for replacing fossil fuels with truly clean alternatives like renewables and conservation.”
For more information
Earthworks Citizens Empowerment Project (infrared video of pollution)