Congresswoman Diana DeGette

Representing the First District of Colorado
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75 Members of Congress Urge EPA to Take Action on Sources of Methane Emissions

Mar 10, 2016
Press Release

Washington, DC – Today, as President Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announce new commitment to combat climate change, 75 Democratic Members of Congress wrote to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, encouraging the agency to finalize proposed rules for new and modified sources of methane emission and to develop proposals to regulate existing sources of methane in the oil and gas industry. The previously-announced proposed rules for new and modified sources of methane would avoid the equivalent of 7.7. to 9 million metric tons of carbon dioxide by 2025. Action to limit existing sources could eliminate another 75 million metric tons by 2025, putting the United States closer to achieving the Obama Administration’s Climate Action Plan goals.

“Reducing methane from existing sources is the necessary next step in order to meet the Administration’s goals under the Climate Action Plan,” the members wrote. “Acting on existing sources now will result in significant savings, and provide a level playing field going forward.  We also suggest that EPA examine methane emissions downstream in the oil and gas sector to see if further reductions are achievable.”

The signers were led by Reps. Diana DeGette (CO-01), Jared Polis (CO-02), Matt Cartwright (PA-17), Eric Swalwell (CA-15), Jared Huffman (CA-02), and John Sarbanes (MD-03). Full text of the letter, including all signers, is available below.

 


March 10, 2016

The Honorable Gina McCarthy
Administrator
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, D.C. 20460

Dear Administrator McCarthy,

We write today to encourage the Environmental Protection Agency to finalize standards to limit methane emissions in the oil and gas sector from new and modified sources. Colorado finalized first-in-the-nation methane controls for oil and gas in 2014, and Pennsylvania and California are now taking steps toward regulating sources of methane emissions.  We are pleased to see the EPA pursuing a complementary suite of regulations for new and modified sources and urge you to take further action to regulate existing sources of methane emissions this year. Reducing methane emissions from this industry is a cost-effective way to combat climate change, improve public health and reduce the waste of natural gas. 

According to the EPA, more than $1 billion worth of natural gas is lost throughout the oil and gas supply chain annually. And without limits on methane pollution, the agency projects a 25 percent increase in leakage over the next 10 years. When methane is leaked, so too are other dangerous air pollutants, including smog-forming volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and air toxics including benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylene. These pollutants are associated with a range of health impacts, including reduced lung function, asthma attacks, hospitalization and chronic respiratory damage. Reducing methane emissions will also lead to reduction of these pollutants, lessening exposures and health risks for communities near oil and gas development.  As the methane leak at a natural gas storage facility in Aliso Canyon, California highlighted, methane emissions can have a direct, severe impact on the lives of our constituents.  

EPA estimates that its proposal will avoid the equivalent of 7.7 to 9 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions by 2025, with net climate benefits of $120 to $150 million. Importantly, this doesn’t take into account the health benefits of reductions in other pollutants. 

In addition to the health and climate impacts of the rule, there are also economic benefits. Off-the-shelf technology already exists to reduce air pollution from oil and gas sources. It is readily available and affordable and supports jobs in the burgeoning methane mitigation industry. 

Finally, Colorado’s recent rules cover new as well as existing sources, and we would like to see EPA use its authority under Section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act to regulate existing sources this year. Reducing methane from existing sources is the necessary next step in order to meet the Administration’s goals under the Climate Action Plan.  Acting on existing sources now will result in significant savings, and provide a level playing field going forward.  We also suggest that EPA examine methane emissions downstream in the oil and gas sector to see if further reductions are achievable.

Thank you for proposing standards to limiting methane emissions from the oil and gas sector.  We look forward to working with you to finalize a suite of methane rules this year.

Sincerely,

 

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Diana DeGette                                                            Jared Polis                               

 


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Matt Cartwright                                                          Eric Swalwell                          

 


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Jared Huffman                                                            John P. Sarbanes

 


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Alan S. Lowenthal                                                      Gerald E. Connolly                 

 


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Chris Van Hollen                                                        Paul Tonko

 


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Henry C. “Hank” Johnson, Jr.                                    Sander M. Levin                                 

 


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Alcee L. Hastings                                                       Michael M. Honda

 


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Donald S. Beyer, Jr.                                                    Charles B. Rangel                   

 


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Donna F. Edwards                                                      Raúl M. Grijalva 

 


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Mark DeSaulnier                                                         Niki Tsongas                           

 


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Jan Schakowsky                                                          Lois Capps

 


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Barbara Lee                                                                 Susan A. Davis                                   

 


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Ted Lieu                                                                      Jackie Speier

 


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Grace F. Napolitano                                                    Michael E. Capuano                            


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Eleanor Holmes Norton                                              Adam B. Schiff

 


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Eliot L. Engel                                                              William R. Keating                             

 


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Suzanne Bonamici                                                      Katherine M. Clark

 


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Kathy Castor                                                               Tim Ryan                                

 


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Zoe Lofgren                                                                Ed Perlmutter

 


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James P. McGovern                                                    Jerry McNerney                                  

 


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Bill Pascrell, Jr.                                                           Mike Quigley

 


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Scott H. Peters                                                            Betty McCollum                                 


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Robert C. “Bobby” Scott                                            Doris O. Matsui

 


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Mark Takai                                                                  Robert A. Brady                                 

 


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Chellie Pingree                                                            Mark Takano

 


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Anna G. Eshoo                                                           Lloyd Doggett                                    

 


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Jim McDermott                                                           Gregory W. Meeks

 


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Elijah E. Cummings                                                    Mark Pocan                             

 


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Maxine Waters                                                            Seth Moulton

 


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Steve Israel                                                                 Luis V. Gutiérrez                                


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Lucille Roybal-Allard                                                 Bonnie Watson-Coleman

 


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James R. Langevin                                                      Alan Grayson                          

 


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John Conyers, Jr.                                                         Donald M. Payne, Jr.

 


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Grace Meng                                                                Keith Ellison                           

 


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Judy Chu                                                                     Karen Bass

 


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Peter Welch                                                                 Emanuel Cleaver                                 

 


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Ami Bera, M.D.                                                          Steve Cohen

 

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Kathleen M. Rice