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PSR Strongly Opposes EPA’s Proposed Rollback of Methane Rule

For Immediate Release

For press inquiries, contact:
Olivia Alperstein, (202) 587-5232
Jeff Carter, (202) 587-5240

Washington, DC— On September 11, 2018, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced their plan to roll back a critical health and safety rule regarding methane, the main component of natural gas and a potent greenhouse gas. The methane New Source Performance Standards, enacted in 2016 under the Obama administration, require that oil and gas drillers take steps to limit emissions of methane during extraction operations and during flaring, the process of burning off gas that will not be captured and transported.

In response to the proposed rollback, Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR), a 501(c)(3) scientific and educational organization representing health and medical professionals with nearly 40,000 members and supporters and with chapters in major cities and medical schools throughout the United States, released the following statement:

This attempt by the EPA to roll back the methane rule undermines the health and safety of families and communities.  It flies in the face of established, documented scientific and medical evidence regarding the damage imposed by methane gas on people’s health and on the climate.

Peer-reviewed medical and scientific literature confirms that high levels of methane escape into the atmosphere from oil and gas drilling and related activities. Methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, damages the world’s climate, harming human health and endangering security.  In addition, methane leaks are frequently accompanied by volatile organic compounds (VOCs), known to be toxic and/or carcinogenic to humans. For both of these reasons, Physicians for Social Responsibility calls for the strongest possible standards to be applied to both methane and VOC emissions in new and modified sources in the oil and natural gas source category.

“As an organization that represents health and medical professionals who work every day to ensure health and safety, we firmly oppose any effort to roll back the methane rule.  This ill-advised move would expose families and communities to increased health threats from global warming, as well as the risk of toxic exposures and life-threatening health complications,” said Jeff Carter, Executive Director of Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR).

“These health and safety regulations exist to protect people from the irreparable injuries caused by methane leaks. Rolling back critical controls on methane is reckless and irresponsible.”

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Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) is a 501(c)(3) scientific and educational organization representing medical and health professionals and concerned citizens, with approximately 40,000 members and supporters and with chapters in major cities and medical schools throughout the United States. PSR has been working for more than 50 years to create a healthy, just and peaceful world for both present and future generations.

Learn more about PSR at www.psr.org and follow us on Twitter at @PSRnuclear and @PSRenvironment.