Methane is the most polluting greenhouse gas. In the short term, methane warms the planet by 86 times as much as CO2, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
With the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reporting that the world needs to achieve overall reductions in emissions in the next decade of more than 1 billion tons per year of climate gasses in order to keep global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, the U.S. needs to put the brakes on natural gas drilling and infrastructure and limit methane emissions from existing wells. But, the Trump administration has other plans.
1. Removing existing rules against methane leaks and waste
Ryan Zinke, the Secretary of the Department of the Interior, is rolling back the Department’s own 2016 rule on capturing methane at wells on public lands. The 2016 rule would have required companies to create gas capture plans, improve leak detection, implement repair programs, and replace faulty equipment -- all designed to reduce excess methane leakage – protecting local communities and the climate. Zinke’s rollback eliminates each of those steps, even though many companies had already made the changes. His own agency found that rolling back the BLM methane rule will cost Americans more than $1 billion in wasted natural gas and pollution.
At the same time, Andrew Wheeler, the Acting Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced plans to weaken the EPA’s New Source Performance Standards, which have been in force for almost a year and would substantially reduce methane leaks at wells nationwide. The new rules would allow methane emissions from wells to increase substantially.
3. Supporter of fossil fuels nominated to energy commission
Finally, President Trump nominated industry-insider Bernard L. McNamee to be a Commissioner of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). If confirmed by the Senate, McNamee would be a rubber stamp on Trump and Rick Perry’s agenda to give away taxpayer dollars to economically failing, dirty energy companies – all at the expense of a clean energy future. McNamee is supportive of propping up failing coal and nuclear plants, and he will help accelerate FERC approvals of natural gas pipelines that threaten communities while increasing the fracking of natural gas nationwide. We need the Senate to hold public hearings on FERC’s abuse of its authority, particularly its rubber stamping of pipelines, before there is a vote on a new FERC Commissioner. Then, we need the Senate to vote “no” on Bernard McNamee.
You can reach your Senator through the United States Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121
Sample Message to use with Senators:
As a constituent/voter, I care deeply about curbing climate change and I’m deeply concerned about the Trump Administration’s actions that will significantly increase the amount of heat-trapping methane going into the atmosphere.
Oil and gas methane pollution standards help keep our air clean and fight climate change. The Trump administration is attacking those safeguards and trying to give their friends in the oil and gas industry a free pass to put our families and communities at risk. I’m asking Senator XX to call on the EPA and Department of the Interior to stop “wasteful and outrageous” policies that allow oil and gas companies to spew more methane into our atmosphere. We need to regulate methane emissions from drilling.
I’m also calling on the Senator to ensure that the Senate holds hearings about the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s rubber stamping of natural gas pipelines before the Senate considers any new nominees for Commissioner. And, to vote “no” on Bernard L. McNamee to fill the open FERC Commissioner seat.