Attorney General Bonta Leads Multistate Coalition to Defend Biden Administration’s Oil and Gas Methane Rule

Monday, March 18, 2024
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OAKLAND – Leading a multistate coalition of 20 attorneys general, California Attorney General Rob Bonta today filed a motion to intervene on behalf of the State of California and the California Air Resources Board (CARB) in the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit to defend the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Oil and Gas Methane Rule. The EPA’s final Rule strengthens regulation of methane emissions from new, modified, and reconstructed facilities in the oil and natural gas sector, and for the first time, regulates emissions from existing facilities in this sector. Currently, the rule is being challenged by 26 states led by the States of Texas and Oklahoma, which aims to set back these critical methane emissions standards for the oil and natural gas industry.

“Once again, we are seeing baseless attacks on efforts to combat climate change and tackle methane emissions,” said California Attorney General Rob Bonta. “For years, this super pollutant has been overlooked while the oil and gas industry carelessly – and at times, knowingly – allowed enormous quantities of greenhouse gas to leak into our environment. The Biden Administration’s rule is a critical step forward, and I, alongside attorneys general across this country, won’t stand idly by as necessary solutions to address the dire reality of the climate crisis fueled by methane emissions are being blatantly attacked.”   

“California has taken proactive steps to reduce methane emissions from oil and gas and other sources, because the work we do now will provide near-term benefits to our air and climate,” said CARB Chair Liane Randolph. “The public health impacts from pollution and the extreme environmental challenges we face with climate change require urgency and action, and we cannot take any steps backwards in our commitment for solutions.”

Methane is a super pollutant up to 80 times more potent as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide in its ability to trap heat in the atmosphere. It is the major component of natural gas, a fossil fuel, and is emitted to the atmosphere during oil and gas production, processing, transmission, and storage. These processes make oil and natural gas are the largest single industrial source of methane emissions in the U.S. For nearly a decade, California and its sister states have urged the EPA to regulate methane emissions from the oil and natural gas sector as a central component in the fight against climate change.

The coalition expresses strong support for the EPA’s final rule which will:

  • Require all oil and gas well sites, centralized production facilities, and compressor stations to be routinely monitored for leaks.
  • Phase out routine flaring of natural gas from new oil wells.
  • Set emissions standards for certain pieces of equipment not previously covered by the 2016 Rule.
  • Allow owners and operators flexibility to utilize a variety of monitoring techniques.
  • Set guidelines for states to follow as they develop plans for establishing, implementing, and enforcing emission standards.
  • Create a “super-emitter program” that leverages third-party expertise to find large leaks and releases.

In filing the motion, Attorney General Bonta and CARB are joined by the attorneys general of Connecticut, Colorado, Delaware, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Minnesota, North Carolina, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin, and Washington D.C. 

A copy of the motion can be found here.

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