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Oil Companies’ Methane Reduction Plans Are No Substitute for Strong Federal Protections

WASHINGTON - Today, Shell announced a new program to limit methane emissions from its oil and gas operations. The announcement follows similar pledges from other oil companies, as well as a voluntary methane reduction program unveiled by the American Petroleum Institute (API) last year.

Meanwhile, API and its members have been the driving force in lobbying the Trump administration to roll back commonsense protections that would limit methane pollution and other dangerous emissions from the oil and gas sector. The Environmental Protection Agency released a proposal last week that would weaken safeguards against methane pollution from new oil and gas facilities, and the Department of the Interior is expected to move soon to effectively eliminate a key program that would limit emissions from drilling operations on public lands.

Methane is a greenhouse gas that is 87 times more potent than carbon dioxide during the time it remains in the atmosphere. Other pollutants released during oil and gas development endanger human health, leading to asthma attacks, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and other negative health outcomes.

In response, Sierra Club Beyond Dirty Fuels campaign director Kelly Martin released the following statement:

“These voluntary programs fall far short of what is necessary to protect our communities and our climate from the dangers of methane and other harmful air pollution. Dismantling federal protections and leaving the public at the mercy of oil and gas companies to decide how much pollution they’ll allow is a recipe for dirty air, unhealthy communities, and climate disaster.”

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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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