December 04, 2023

Casten Applauds EPA Rule to Reduce Methane Emissions

Washington, D.C. — Today, U.S. Congressman Sean Casten (IL-06) released the following statement applauding the Environmental Protection Agency’s final rule to sharply reduce methane emissions:

“Since the Industrial Revolution, methane emissions have accounted for approximately one-third of global warming,” said Rep. Casten. “This problem has only become worse in recent years, as annual methane emissions remain stubbornly high. The EPA’s new methane rule will not only significantly decrease methane emissions, but it will also serve as a message to the world during COP 28 that the United States remains committed to our emissions reduction goals.”

The EPA’s final rule will prevent an estimated 58 million tons of methane emissions from 2024 to 2038, the equivalent of 1.5 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide – nearly as much as all the carbon dioxide emitted by the power sector in 2021. In 2030 alone, the expected reductions are equivalent to 130 million metric tons of carbon dioxide – more than the annual emissions from 28 million gasoline cars. The rule would achieve a nearly 80 percent reduction below the methane emissions that would have been expected in the future without the rule. These reductions are greater than what was projected for the 2022 and 2021 proposals, thanks to changes that strengthen provisions to limit wasteful, polluting flaring of natural gas and analytical updates that better capture the impacts of this rulemaking.

“I applaud the Biden Administration for cracking down on this super pollutant,” Rep. Sean Casten continued. “That said, this rule should not mark the end of our work on methane emissions. We must continue to develop the technologies needed to dramatically reduce methane emissions from the oil and gas industry and ensure the Department of Energy and the EPA have the resources necessary to do so.”

The final rule includes a comprehensive suite of pollution reduction standards that address the largest sources of methane and other harmful pollutants at oil and gas facilities, including methane that leaks or is vented from equipment processes. Among other things, the final rule will:

  • Phase in a requirement to eliminate routine flaring of natural gas that is produced by new oil wells;

  • Require comprehensive monitoring for leaks of methane from well sites and gas compressor stations, while giving oil and gas companies flexibility to use innovative low-cost methane monitoring technologies;

  • Establish standards that require reductions in emissions from high-emitting equipment like controllers, pumps, and storage tanks; and

  • Leverage third-party expertise to find large methane leaks and releases known as “super emitters.”

Since coming to Congress, Rep. Casten has prioritized legislation to reduce methane emissions. Last year, he partnered with Rep. Peter Meijer to introduce the bipartisan Methane Emission Mitigation Research and Development Act to reduce methane emissions, provide a unique opportunity to slow the pace of climate change, and allow for more time to implement lasting changes to transition to a clean energy future.

Earlier this year, Rep. Casten and a bicameral group of lawmakers sent a letter to EPA Administrator Michael Regan urging the EPA to support stronger standards to reduce methane emissions and pollution from oil and natural gas operations.

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