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Final Standards for Methane Pollution on Public Lands Released

Posted by Kathy Attar, MPH on November 15, 2016

The Bureau of Land Management rule is designed to cut the volume of natural gas that's vented and flared each year into the atmosphere from roughly 100,000 new and existing wells on federal and tribal lands. The rule is projected to cut methane emissions from the oil and gas sector by as much as 35%. (About 13% of all natural gas comes from federal lands).

Scientific studies document that methane, a greenhouse gas 86 times more powerful than carbon dioxide in the near term, leaks extensively from oil and natural gas wells, infrastructure, pipelines and compressor stations. These leaks pose a severe threat to the world's climate and, thus, to human health. In addition, methane leaks are frequently accompanied by the leakage of other toxic pollutants, including volatile organic compounds, hazardous air pollutants, ozone and particulate matter. Methane and these associated waste products have been shown to be harmful to health. Over 74,000 people are within a half-mile of an oil or gas facility on public lands.[1]

The rule's future is in doubt after last week’s election given President-elect Trump’s stance on reducing regulation of the oil and gas industry. PSR and our members will work to protect the methane rules to reduce climate change and defend our right to clean air for all communities.

[1] Oil and Gas Threat Map


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