The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently announced proposed federal rule changes impacting methane pollution from the oil and gas industry. Northern Plains immediately harnessed this opportunity – which included a public comment period – to make our voices heard! We stood up to demand strong protections for our health and our climate.
“Having personally experienced some of the effects of climate change this past summer, I am hopeful the new EPA methane rules will be a big step forward in controlling the release of methane into the atmosphere,” said Sue Beug, a Red Lodge member who saw the devastating impacts of climate-fueled flooding in her community last year.
Cutting methane pollution from the oil and gas industry is the quickest, most cost effective way to slow the rate of climate change and protect our health. Methane is 80 times more potent a climate pollutant compared to carbon dioxide over the first 20 years of its life in the atmosphere. Northern Plains believes that EPA has an obligation to strengthen health and climate protections with rules that leave no loopholes for methane pollution from oil and gas production.
Frontline communities who live near oil and gas production bear the greatest burden of pollution with serious impacts to their health, air, and water. Thank you to everyone who submitted a comment to EPA during this recent comment period and for all the work members have done to stand up for our communities and our neighbors!
On a related note, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is also updating rules to prevent oil and gas companies from deliberate flaring of methane, the process whereby polluting gas is simply burned as waste instead of being captured for use. Flaring on public lands not only creates more pollution, it also prevents taxpayers from getting proper revenue from these publicly-owned minerals. BLM’s draft “waste prevention rule” takes steps to reduce methane pollution but falls short of President Biden’s commitment to phase out routine flaring by 2030 and Interior Secretary Haaland’s duty to ensure a fair return to taxpayers given the needless waste of public and tribal resources.
Additionally the Montana BLM office is moving forward with new oil and gas leasing across the state, proposing to lease up to 52 parcels totaling 20,951 acres located in Montana and North Dakota public and private land. Strong protections for our health, climate, and wallets must be in place before any discussion of opening new leases in our region. Northern Plains members have stood up as community leaders and submitted comments on this issue.
To learn more about how to get involved in protecting our communities against methane pollution, email Gusty at email@example.com.