Attorneys General Bonta and James Lead Coalition in Support of EPA Proposal to Regulate Methane Emissions from the Oil and Natural Gas Sector

Monday, January 31, 2022
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OAKLAND – California Attorney General Rob Bonta and New York Attorney General Letitia James today led a multistate coalition in submitting comments in support of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposal to strengthen regulation of emissions from new, modified, and reconstructed facilities in the oil and natural gas sector, and to, for the first time, regulate emissions from existing facilities in this sector. The EPA estimates that the proposed regulations will reduce emissions of methane by 41 million tons, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) by 12 million tons, and hazardous air pollutants by 480,000 tons between 2023 and 2035.

"This is the defining decade in the effort to combat climate change and tackling methane emissions is one of the defining fights," said Attorney General Bonta. "For years, this super pollutant has been overlooked on the global stage while the oil and gas industry carelessly leaked enormous quantities of this greenhouse gas into our atmosphere. The Biden Administration's proposal is a critical step forward, and one that will have immediate and important impacts for public health and the environment. I urge the EPA to finalize this proposal without delay."

“We applaud the Biden administration and Administrator Regan for taking strong and historic action to curb the climate-warming and health-damaging pollution from the oil and gas sector.  While CARB has been working to protect Californians from this pollution for years, nationwide protections are vital to protect our climate and the health of all Americans,” said California Air Resources Board Chair Liane Randolph.

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. The production, processing, transmission, and storage of oil and natural gas are the largest single industrial source of methane emissions in the U.S. and the second largest industrial source of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions behind only power plants. 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.

In today’s comments, the coalition expresses its strong support for the EPA's proposed rule, and identifies areas where the EPA could build upon the proposal, including, among others:

  • Requiring regular monitoring and repair of leaks for all well sites regardless of their potential to emit or production level;
  • Expressly prohibiting routine flaring, not just venting, from new and existing oil wells with associated gas;
  • Strengthening the rule as necessary to address the excessive environmental burdens imposed on communities located near oil and gas facilities; and
  • Adopting guidelines that establish uniform federal requirements to minimize or eliminate emissions from abandoned wells.

In filing the comments, Attorneys General Bonta and James are joined by the attorneys general of Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin, as well as the City of Chicago. The California Air Resources Board also submitted comments

A copy of the comments can be found here.

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