Cutting Methane: Leadership from California
On Thursday, California’s Air Resources Board (CARB) took a big step to rein in harmful emissions from oil and gas operations. Methane, a common byproduct of oil production and a major component of gas, is a potent greenhouse gas that is 86 times more heat trapping than carbon dioxide in the short term.
Cutting methane emissions must be a top priority for all of us.
Controlling methane emissions is a big deal, not just for saving the climate, but also because plugging leaks keeps other air pollution out of our environment. Air toxics, particulate matter and volatile organic compounds all contribute to respiratory illness and other health impacts. For the 12.4 million Americans who live within a half mile of an oil and gas well stopping this pollution could be a matter of life and death.
At the Federal level, EPA has taken steps to limit methane emissions too. New wells and other facilities will be subject to new rules. But we need EPA to regulate the more than 1.2 million existing wells and the infrastructure used to process and transport oil and gas across the US. As often is the case, EPA can simply turn the California and follow their lead. But we need to push them in the right direction.