SACRAMENTO – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra today denounced the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) announcement of a proposed rule that will reverse 2016 standards limiting methane emissions. The 2016 standards required companies to monitor and repair equipment and sites to prevent leaks of methane and other pollutants. The standards would apply to emissions from new or modified wells, pumps, and other equipment sources in the oil and natural gas sector. This sector is the largest industrial source of methane emissions, a greenhouse gas up to 86 times more potent than carbon dioxide in its ability to trap heat over a 20-year timeframe.
“As we face a catastrophic climate emergency, now is not the time to go backwards. It is beyond foolish to gut rules that reduce emissions of super pollutants and protect against increased ozone,” said Attorney General Becerra. “The EPA must get back to its mission of protecting our environment and public health, not the profits of corporate polluters. We’re ready to fight this senseless decision by the EPA, whose own scientists have warned against actions such as the one that the agency has announced today. The EPA has made a monumentally stupid decision with this rule, and we have too much to lose to let it go.”
The 2016 standard that the EPA attempts to dismantle is estimated to prevent 300,000 tons of methane emissions in 2020 and 510,000 tons in 2025. In 2016, the EPA analyzed the costs and benefits of the standard, including the revenues generated from recovered natural gas that would otherwise be vented, and determined that the standard would result in a net benefit estimated at $35 million in 2020 and $170 million in 2025.