DeGette Leads Democratic House Colleagues in Opposition to EPA Proposal to Weaken Methane Standards
Washington, DC – Rep. Diana DeGette (CO-01) led 68 of her fellow House Democrats in submitting technical comments opposing an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposal to weaken emissions standards for methane and other compounds. Methane is an especially potent greenhouse gas, and its emissions are also associated with public health problems such as asthma, reduced lung function, chronic respiratory damage, cancer, nervous system damage, and birth defects.
“The proposed rule disregards the current scientific understanding of methane pollution and suffers from inaccurate supporting evidence to justify the regulatory changes the EPA is seeking,” DeGette and her colleagues wrote. “It completely ignores the findings of a new scientific report, conducted by 24 authors representing 12 universities and two United States Government labs, that found methane emissions from the oil and gas industry in the United States were 60% higher than the amount of previous EPA greenhouse gas inventory estimates. Using a lower, inaccurate baseline downplays the severity of the methane (and VOCs) emissions problem, artificially lowering the costs associated with weakening pollution standards for oil and gas operations.”
The EPA proposal would weaken current standards that require the oil and gas industry to use best available technology in their efforts to reduce methane emissions. According to the EPA’s own research, the current standards will support jobs, allow the industry to capture more natural gas that can be sold to consumers, and protect public health in the process. Rep. DeGette and her colleagues submitted their technical comments as part of the rulemaking process the EPA is required to undertake for its proposal.