Action – Oppose EPA’s Methane Regulation Rollback – Comment Deadline is Monday, December 17. 11:59 EST at regulations.gov, CLICK HERE.
While our attention is elsewhere, the dark business of deconstructing our protections continues unabated as corporate-friendly and extremist-backed rule-change proposals roll off the assembly line every day.
A surprising number of the James Bond movie plots center around the threat of environmental disaster, with the fate of mankind held ransom for money, fame or political power.
With the recent issuance of alarming government reports at how close we are already to world-wide catastrophe (2018 Arctic Report Card, Fourth National Climate Assessment) one can only wonder if we are inside a real-life James Bond movie. Trump, with his clownishly long ties, the sartorial tic required for any great Bondian villain, is single-mindedly intent on removing all Obama-era protections – including this one which eliminates the requirement that oil and gas companies check for methane leaks from capped wells on public and tribal lands. If he succeeds, hundreds of thousands of tons of methane will be released, polluting our atmosphere while costing us millions in potential royalty revenue. In return, like the proper villain he is, he’ll continue to profit from huge contributions from extractive industries such as gas, oil and mining.
So be your favorite Bond, be it Connery, Moore, Lazenby, Dalton, Brosnan, or Craig, or even better, Miss Moneypenny, and wield your “Q”-enhanced keyboard against this rule.
Many people wonder if their responses are helpful or are even counted at all. The government has put out this tip sheet on taking your best shot. Here’s the gist:
- Read and understand the regulatory document you are commenting on
- Feel free to reach out to the agency with questions
- Be concise but support your claims
- Base your justification on sound reasoning, scientific evidence, and/or how you will be impacted
- Address trade-offs and opposing views in your comment
- There is no minimum or maximum length for an effective comment
- The comment process is not a vote – one well supported comment is often more influential than a thousand form letters
- Check out other people’s comments for inspiration here.
I am writing to oppose EPA’s proposed rule change to loosen regulations on methane emissions on public and tribal lands. By removing the requirement that the gas and oil industry monitor new wells for methane leaks, the EPA will allow thousands of pounds of methane gas to be released into our atmosphere. This will result in health and safety risks for local communities, as well as contribute to increased atmospheric greenhouse gases. This rollback of emission safeguards contradicts scientific and medical evidence regarding methane gas effects on people’s health, air and water, and on our climate.
Methane is a dangerous greenhouse gas on steroids. It has a short-term planet-warming potential 86 times greater than that of carbon dioxide. Leaks from the production, processing and transportation of oil and gas in 2015 released an amount of methane equivalent to 2.3 percent of all U.S. natural gas produced that year. That much leaked methane would have the same short-term climate impact as emissions from all U.S. coal-fired power plants combined.
Trump wants to make it much easier for fossil fuel companies to release methane into our atmosphere by weakening a rule that requires companies to test for leaks every six months and repair them, as well as a rule that prevents companies from intentionally venting methane during drilling. The EPA estimates the change could result in as much as 380,000 tons of methane emissions between 2019 and 2025.
The two largest contributors of methane are natural gas leaks and livestock. Not only is Trump trying to allow more leaks, but in July, his EPA signed off on a different rule exempting agriculture producers from reporting methane emissions from cattle. One by one, Trump is going after every regulation that prevents corporations from destroying our planet in exchange for the short-term gain of cash support for his campaign and those of his supporters.
- US oil companies expected to produce gusher profits – and big gains for investors (market watch)
- Big Oil’s most profitagle quarter ever: $51.5 billion (ABC)
- BLM to Lift Protections Against Methane Emissions on America’s Public Lands (nrdc)
- How bad a greenhouse gas is Methane (Scientific American)
- Methane, the other important greenhouse gas (edf)
- Trump Administration Wants to Make It Easier to Release Methane Into Air (The New York Times)
- Oil and Gas Fields Leak Far More Methane than EPA Reports, Study Finds(InsideClimate News)
- EPA change to Obama-era rule on methane leaks could lead to more greenhouse gas emissions (abcnews)
- Trump set to weaken methane air pollution rule: report (The Hill)
- Trump administration eases regulation of methane leaks on Public Lands (NPR)
- Oil, gas and coal interests filling Donal Trump’s “Swamp” with cash (publicintegrity.org)