13 December 12
ccording to a press release today from New York’s Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman:
Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman, leading a coalition of seven states, today notified the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of his intent to sue the Agency for violating the Clean Air Act by failing to address methane emissions from the oil and natural gas industry. EPA has determined that methane is a powerful climate change pollutant emitted by the industry in large quantities. Because of this, and the availability of affordable methods for controlling the industry’s methane emissions, Attorney General Schneiderman’s coalition charges that EPA violated the Clean Air Act when it largely ignored methane in recent updates to air pollution emission standards for the industry.
Methane is a very potent greenhouse gas. Pound for pound, it warms the climate about 25 times more than carbon dioxide. EPA has found that the impacts of climate change caused by methane include “increased air and ocean temperatures, changes in precipitation patterns, melting and thawing of global glaciers and ice, increasingly severe weather events-such as hurricanes of greater intensity-and sea level rise.” In 2009, EPA determined that methane and other greenhouse gases endanger the public’s health and welfare.
The EPA’s decision not to directly address the emissions of methane from oil and natural gas operations-including hydrofracking-leaves almost 95% of these emissions uncontrolled.