By the Natural Resources Defense Council
By failing to regulate methane pollution, Trump’s EPA is putting communities across the country at risk.
“On the heels of news reports that the United States will walk away from a global commitment to combat climate change, President Trump is sabotaging headway our country has already made,” said David Doniger, director of NRDC’s Climate & Clean Air program, after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced yesterday that it is rolling back Obama-era safeguards against methane pollution. The agency’s administrator, Scott Pruitt, also put a 90-day hold on federal leak detection and repair requirements and indicated he would soon propose to make that hold indefinite. NRDC is suing the Trump administration to block this dangerous development.
Methane is the second-biggest driver of climate change after carbon dioxide, and leaks from oil and gas wells, which are prevalent throughout the United States, release dangerous smog-forming and cancer-causing chemicals. We don’t need to look any further than the catastrophic four-month-long leak at Aliso Canyon in Southern California to understand the dire threat that nearby communities face.
Leak detection and repair is critical to curbing methane pollution, and finding and fixing the leaks is simple and cost-effective. A 2014 NRDC report detailed how the EPA could easily cut methane pollution from the oil and gas industry by half—saving enough gas to heat three million homes—by issuing readily available control measures.
Instead, the Trump administration has, in disregard for our global climate crisis, once again decided to side with polluters and strip away critical protections for people across the country.
“The Trump administration is giving its friends in the oil and gas industry a free pass to continue polluting our air. The EPA is continuing to put thousands of people in communities near these facilities at increased risk for asthma attacks and cancer,” Doniger said. “We will fight Trump’s latest polluter giveaway in court.”