Press Release Aug 13, 2020

Administration Guts Methane Rule, Allowing More Air Pollution to Harm National Parks and Communities

The administration is gutting commonsense regulations, threatening the air we breathe and wasting taxpayer money, all while ignoring the climate crisis. 

Washington, DC – The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced its final rule to gut standards needed to reduce methane and other pollution from oil and gas development. The new plan ignores extensive scientific evidence on the dangers of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, and guts 2016 standards that would reduce air and climate pollution affecting national parks while benefitting taxpayers.

Nearly every single one of our more than 400 national parks suffer from the effects of climate change, from melting glaciers to record flooding to disastrous wildfires. Methane emissions contribute to climate change that is putting park visitors, wildlife, and cultural and natural resources at risk. In fact, rampant methane waste in northwest New Mexico’s San Juan Basin has led to a 2,500-square-mile methane cloud over the Four Corners region and national parks including Mesa Verde and Aztec Ruins. Today’s rollback will allow even more methane pollution to dirty the air we breathe and jeopardize the health of our communities and parks.

Oil and gas facilities release billions of cubic feet of methane into the atmosphere every year, wasting energy and money. Oil and gas companies operating on federal and tribal lands alone are wasting an estimated $330 million nationwide each year through leaks, venting and flaring.

Statement by Stephanie Kodish, Clean Air Program Director for National Parks Conservation Association:

“Despite scientific evidence, public outcry and criticism from some leading oil and gas companies, the administration is gutting commonsense regulations, threatening the air we breathe and wasting taxpayer money, all while ignoring the climate crisis.

“Marginalized communities are bearing the brunt of air pollution, the same pollution accelerating climate change that’s eroding our national parks’ seashores, melting their glaciers, destroying their historic artifacts and devastating local economies. Fortunately, there are solutions, but there’s no time to waste.

“Reducing pollution like methane and volatile organic compounds from oil and gas development would not only lead to clearer air and cleaner water in our national parks, it would provide safer conditions for the millions of people who visit these places and live nearby. Our nation should be moving forward, transitioning to clean energy in a just and equitable manner to both help combat the climate crisis and provide a safer future for local communities and our parks.

“NPCA will continue to fight for the EPA to uphold its legal responsibility to protect the health of our environment and people.”

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About The National Parks Conservation Association: Since 1919, the nonpartisan National Parks Conservation Association has been the leading voice in safeguarding our national parks. NPCA and its nearly 1.4 million members and supporters work together to protect and preserve our nation’s most iconic and inspirational places for future generations. For more information, visit www.npca.org.