Marisa Twigg, Creative and Communications Director, November 16, 2022
COLUMBUS, Ohio — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced new rules on November 11, 2022 to cut emissions from methane and other harmful pollutants caused by oil and gas operations across the country. The U.S. EPA’s updated rule is crucial to protecting the health and safety of communities in Ohio and confronting the climate crisis.
This updated proposed rule builds upon the draft rule released by the U.S. EPA in 2021 and comes after hundreds of thousands of people submitted public comments earlier this year urging the U.S. EPA to further cut methane pollution. In the first three months of 2022, the Ohio Environmental Council issued an action alert that yielded more than 415 responses from members and environmental advocates across Ohio urging for bold and immediate action to cut methane emissions at the federal level.
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources estimates Ohio has at least 36,000—potentially up to 100,000—abandoned oil and gas wells near millions of Ohioans homes, schools, and places of business. The U.S. EPA’s updated proposed rule lays the groundwork to hold the oil and gas industry accountable for their promises to reduce methane pollution and address the climate crisis.
Methane has more than 80 times the warming power of carbon dioxide over the first 20 years after it reaches the atmosphere. Even though CO2 has a longer-lasting effect, methane sets the pace for warming in the near term. Cutting methane emissions is critical to halting the worst impacts of the climate crisis and protecting those made most vulnerable.
The following quote can be attributed, in whole or in part, to Dion Mensah, Energy Justice Fellow for the Ohio Environmental Council (OEC):
“Methane pollution at oil and gas sites is closely linked with harmful pollutants that put Ohio families living at risk, particularly those who live near the sites. Those harmful pollutants come from toxic chemicals, like benzene, which contribute to problems such as asthma, heart attack and cancer. These issues disproportionately impact low-to moderate-income communities and communities of color across our state. The climate crisis requires bold action to keep communities safe. This proposed rule can help Ohio create jobs filling abandoned or orphaned oil and gas wells, make our communities healthier and reduce harmful emissions.”
“We look forward to a robust public comment period where frontline groups, indigenous communities, NGOs, state and local governments and other stakeholders can weigh in and make their voices heard. Ohioans deserve strong solutions for pollution that protect our health, advance environmental justice and get us on track to cutting climate pollution by 50-52% by 2030.”
The Ohio Environmental Council (OEC) is the state’s most comprehensive and effective environmental advocate for a healthier, more sustainable Ohio. The OEC develops and ensures the implementation of forward-thinking, science-based, pragmatic solutions to secure healthy air, land, and water for all who call Ohio home.
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