Today, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a supplemental proposed rule to reduce methane pollution from new and existing oil and gas wells. In response to the proposal, Harold Wimmer, President and CEO of the American Lung Association, issued the following statement:
“EPA’s new proposed rule is a significant step toward reining in harmful pollution, including methane and other hazardous air pollutants, from fossil fuel production. Now EPA must act quickly to finalize strong methane rules so they can take effect as soon as possible.
“Stronger limits on methane pollution will have immediate benefits. Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas, which means it contributes to climate change. It has been shown to leak into the atmosphere during the oil and gas production process. Climate change is a health emergency. Quickly reducing methane pollution is an essential step to preventing the worst climate impacts.
“Stronger methane rules will also improve health by reducing volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which are released alongside methane from oil and gas operations. VOCs can cause cancer, affect the nervous system, cause birth defects and contribute to ozone pollution, another pollutant that harms health. People who live near oil and gas wells are especially vulnerable and face disproportionate health risks.
“This proposed rule is a positive step forward, building on an initial proposal from EPA in 2021. The American Lung Association appreciates the agency’s consideration of the hundreds of thousands of comments received for the initial proposal – including from national and state health and medical organizations, more than 300 health professionals and more than 300 individuals. We recommend that EPA require that the oil and gas industry take the strongest steps possible to prevent fugitive emissions of methane and other gases from all operations, including small producing wells, and halt all routine flaring of methane.
“We thank EPA for their work on proposing stricter methane standards for new and existing oil and gas wells and urge the agency to quickly finalize stronger standards to fully protect health.”
About the American Lung Association
The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease through education, advocacy and research. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to champion clean air for all; to improve the quality of life for those with lung disease and their families; and to create a tobacco-free future. For more information about the American Lung Association, which has a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and is a Platinum-Level GuideStar Member, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit: Lung.org. To support the work of the American Lung Association, find a local event at Lung.org/events.