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Erin Jensen

EPA Takes Important Step on Methane, but Greater Action Needed

WASHINGTON - Today the Environmental Protection Agency proposed a rule to reduce methane from the oil and gas industry. This proposed rule is the latest part of the Obama administration’s strategy to reduce methane emissions across various sectors. Methane is a greenhouse gas that is 87 times as potent as carbon dioxide over a 20 year timeframe. Some estimates put methane leakage from oil and gas production at 17 percent and a review of scientific research found conventional natural gas emits more greenhouse gases than coal.

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While the proposed rule only addresses new sources of methane, existing and old wells that are no longer in use remain a major problem. The U.S. has at least three million abandoned wells, some of which are significant sources of methane.

Friends of the Earth Climate and Energy Campaigner Kate DeAngelis offers the following statement in response:

We applaud the Obama administration for taking an important step toward addressing this significant contributor to climate disruption. The regulation of methane cannot become a justification for continuing our reliance on fossil fuels.

We have a serious problem with existing and abandoned wells, and the final rule needs to address them. The real solution to climate change is to leave fossil fuels in the ground and to clean up the abandoned wells that continue to poison our air.


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