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With Weakening of Methane Protections, Trump and Wheeler Sacrifice Public Health for Oil and Gas Interests

EPA seeks to gut critical safeguards limiting air pollution

WASHINGTON - Today, Andrew Wheeler’s EPA released its plan to weaken key safeguards limiting methane and other harmful pollutants from the oil and gas industry. Methane is a greenhouse gas that is 87 times more potent than carbon dioxide during the time it remains in the atmosphere.

EPA itself admits the health danger posed by oil and gas emissions, particularly to children. In a notice in the Federal Register on an attempted delay of the rule last year, the agency noted that, “the EPA believes that the environmental health or safety risk addressed by this action may have a disproportionate effect on children.”  

The protections now under attack were finalized during the Obama administration after years of public input from the public and the oil and gas industry. The Trump administration’s attempt to unilaterally delay these safeguards was defeated in court last summer thanks to the efforts of the Sierra Club and its allies, and they have now been fully in effect for over a year. Hundreds of thousands of Americans have submitted public comments urging the agency to protect our climate and communities by keeping these common-sense safeguards in place.

In response, Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune issued the following statement:
 
“It is not surprising that this administration chose to ignore the calls of hundreds of thousands of Americans and listen instead to their fossil fuel industry friends, but that still doesn’t comfort the communities across the country that will now breathe dirtier air. The EPA itself acknowledged that delaying these protections would harm our children. To try and gut them anyway makes it clear that, like Scott Pruitt before him, Acting EPA Administrator Wheeler is interested in lining the pockets of fossil fuel executives, no matter the cost.

“This administration has repeatedly abdicated its duties in order to cater to the fossil fuel industry at the public’s expense, and the Sierra Club will continue to fight back against these assaults on our climate and our children’s health.” 

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The Sierra Club is the oldest and largest grassroots environmental organization in the United States. It was founded on May 28, 1892 in San Francisco, California by the well-known conservationist and preservationist John Muir, who became its first president. The Sierra Club has hundreds of thousands of members in chapters located throughout the US, and is affiliated with Sierra Club Canada.

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