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WORC Applauds New EPA Methane Pollution Standards


The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released the first federal rule to regulate methane emissions from oil and natural gas production last week. In the western United States methane is often intentionally flared or vented in oil-rich formations in the Bakken and Niobrara shale on private, federal, and tribal land. A toxic pollutant, methane contributes to smog, adversely impacts public health, and is widely reported to be one of the leading causes of climate change.

In response to the announcement, Theodora Bird Bear, Chair of the Western Organization of Resource Councils Oil and Gas Campaign Team and resident of Fort Berthold Indian Reservation in North Dakota, issued the following statement:

WORC Applauds New EPA Methane Pollution Standards

“WORC applauds the Obama Administration for taking a major step towards reducing methane pollution and the waste of a valuable resource. The proposed methane pollution standards will help improve air quality, reduce the waste of methane from leaks and venting, and reduce the climate and health impacts resulting from oil and gas development.

“Where I live on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation in North Dakota, methane emissions are a problem impacting people’s health, especially the health of the elderly and children. Recently, while driving home across western North Dakota, the need for strong rules became very clear as I counted 80 active gas flares in a 40-mile stretch of my drive.

“This rule is a not only major step towards helping to improve the health of my neighbors on the Fort Berthold Reservation, but this rule is also a major step towards helping improve the air quality for all Americans living near oil and gas wells.

“As introduced, this rule only applies to new sources of methane production, so in order to strengthen this rule, we encourage the EPA to consider broadening the scope to include existing sources of methane pollution to better protect the health and climate impacts of methane.

“We look forward to a complementary proposal now under development at the Bureau of Land Management, which will help significantly reduce methane waste and pollution from federally owned and managed oil and gas resources. This rule is expected out in the coming months.”


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