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Attorney General Xavier Becerra Issues Letter to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt Objecting to Withdrawal of Information Request to Oil and Natural Gas Industry

Monday, April 3, 2017
Contact: (415) 703-5837, agpressoffice@doj.ca.gov

SACRAMENTO – Today, Attorney General Xavier Becerra, along with eight fellow attorneys general, sent a letter to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt objecting to the EPA’s unilateral withdrawal of an information collection request. The request was intended to gather information regarding the oil and natural gas industry on its emissions of natural gas or methane, a powerful greenhouse gas.

The letter requests that Administrator Pruitt reconsider his decision and reissue the information collection request.

“The emission and leakage of methane into the atmosphere caused by oil and natural gas production is harmful to our state, the environment, and devastates our efforts to combat climate change,” said Attorney General Becerra. “The information requested would be valuable to identifying untapped opportunities to reduce air pollution from oil and gas production, transmission, and distribution.”

“It’s inexcusable for the EPA not to act in a transparent manner, endangering our environment, and risking the health and welfare of Californians,” continued Attorney General Becerra.  “If Administrator Pruitt thinks the Agency can evade its obligation under the Clean Air Act to regulate methane emissions from oil and natural gas sector operations simply by ceasing the collection of information about their methane pollution, he is sorely mistaken.”

In November 2016, the EPA issued its information request to better inform the development of a rule limiting emissions under Section 111 of the Clean Air Act.  On March 2, 2017, Administrator Pruitt, without meaningful explanation or any advance notice, withdrew the information request. Additionally, Administrator Pruitt did not allow for public comment during this process.

Attorney General Becerra was joined in sending the letter by the attorneys general of Massachusetts, the District of Columbia, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

A copy of the letter sent to the EPA is attached to the electronic version of this release at oag.ca.gov/news.

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