Virginia leaders praise nationwide standards for methane pollution

newspaperThe EPA has finalized the first nationwide safeguards limiting dangerous methane pollution from new and modified sources in the oil and gas industry. These standards are projected to reduce 510,000 short tons of methane pollution – the equivalent of 11 coal fired power plans – and save Americans $170 million in net climate benefits.

Sarah Bucci, Environment Virginia State Director, was joined on a tele-conference by Terra Pascarosa with Moms Clean Air Force, and Kenda Hanuman with Friends of Buckingham to praise today’s rule.

“Today’s announcement represents one of the Obama Administration’s most important steps towards keeping Americans safe and healthy,” said Sarah Bucci, State Director with Environment Virginia. “Oil and gas companies are releasing millions of tons of methane pollution into our air, and today’s announcement is the best way to begin protecting Americans from the disastrous impacts of those pollutants.”

“Dangerous methane pollution is responsible for a quarter of man-made climate change and standards that limit this pollution from oil and gas development are one of the most meaningful ways to combat our changing climate in the short-term. Without comprehensive standards, about 70 percent of the industry’s oil and gas wells and other equipment will continue to pollute our air and speed up climate change with virtually no oversight,” said Delegate Rip Sullivan.

“As a mom and someone who lives on the front lines of sea level from climate change, I’m glad to see these common sense regulations on one of the most potent global warming pollutants. This rule will begin to protect Americans from the disastrous impacts of climate change and the oil and gas industry’s air pollution and toxic chemicals,” said Terra Pascarosa, Manager of Field Operations with Moms Clean Air Force.

Dangerous methane and toxic air pollution from the oil and gas industry poses a grave threat to public health. Harmful air quality can trigger asthma attacks in children cardiovascular disease. Toxic emission from the oil and gas industry may raise the risk of cancer.

“Emissions from compressor stations are significant; 60–75 % of the estimated damages mostly health problems, from all natural gas activities result from compressor station activities. Not only are safeguards urgently needed to protect the public from existing sources of methane pollution, but each new pipeline project will add 30-40 years of continued toxic emissions,” said Kenda Hanuman, a representative from Friends of Buckingham.

Today’s action is the first-ever nationwide standard for methane pollution from the oil and gas industry.

“Methane pollution is responsible for a quarter of man-made climate change, so action on new and modified sources of methane pollution is an incredibly important step,” concluded Bucci. “Today’s rule is an important step forward, but it falls short of what’s needed to avert climate disaster. A standard for new methane pollution will not be enough on its own – we must take action to address the millions of tons of methane pollution already leaking into the air from existing sources. The President has committed to taking this action on existing sources, and we stand ready to work with him towards that goal as well.”

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