Eliminating restrictions on damaging and dangerous methane pollution at oil and gas sites nationwide, as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposes to do, would be costly.
It was just this past Thursday that the current EPA proposed doing just that.
The Center for Biological Diversity (Center) in its “Trump Proposes Killing Methane Pollution Rule” press release of Aug. 29, 2019, speaks volumes.
“‘This reckless rollback pours fuel on the flames of a world on fire,’ said Kassie Siegel, director of the Center for Biological Diversity’s Climate Law Institute. ‘The EPA is now so determined to actually increase greenhouse pollution that it’s even shrugging off concerns from oil and gas companies about gutting these protections.’”
There are two proposal alternatives, according to the Center in the release.
“The first would scrap New Source Performance Standards for emissions of methane and other volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from oil and gas transmission and storage infrastructure and remove methane limits for oil and gas production and processing equipment.”
The second, meanwhile, where gas and oil equipment and infrastructure are concerned, as to restrictions on methane from, there would be … none.
As a greenhouse gas emission, methane is what is referred to as a short-lived climate pollutant. It breaks down in the atmosphere far more quickly than does carbon dioxide. But, for equal amounts of both gases in the atmosphere, methane packs a far stronger punch in terms of the effect it has on atmospheric heating.
The Center stated, “Methane is a climate pollutant that heats the atmosphere 87 times more than the same amount of carbon dioxide over a 20-year period.”
Methane, as a component of smog, “contributes to asthma and other public-health problems,” the Center explained.
Enforcement on parts of the Obama-era rule was suspended as imposed by Scott Pruitt in 2017, the former Environmental Protection Agency Administrator. “But the D.C. Circuit court struck that down, ruling the move was ‘unreasonable,’ ‘arbitrary’ and ‘capricious,’ and that the agency did not have authority under the Clean Air Act to block enforcement.
“‘Fracked gas is a climate killer, and it’s clear that simply reinstating the methane rule won’t be enough to stave off catastrophe,’ Siegel said. ‘The next president must commit to a rapid phaseout of all fossil fuel production and use.’”
It is apparent that time to get this right is running out.
Image above: NOAA