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Tell the EPA to cut methane emissions

Delivery to the Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan

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What’s At Stake

Back in June 2021, and again in December 2021, we called on Earthjustice supporters to tell the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to tackle methane — a powerful greenhouse gas that is the second largest contributor to the climate crisis after carbon dioxide. The EPA responded to our roar by releasing an updated proposal that will cut methane emissions significantly through the end of the decade. Tell the EPA to strengthen its proposal to reduce the oil and gas industry’s methane pollution.

The updated plan is an encouraging sign from the Biden administration that it’s taking this problem seriously — methane emissions covered by the plan would plummet 87% by 2030 relative to 2005 levels. Paired with actions taken by Congress to establish a fee on methane pollution and roll back a disastrous Trump-era policy that let polluters off the hook for their methane emissions, there’s more hope for progress on methane than there has been in a long time.

Despite this progress, we need the EPA to be bolder. Methane is the second largest contributor to the climate crisis after carbon dioxide. On a pound-for-pound basis, methane traps 86 times more heat than carbon dioxide, making it far more potent and dangerous to our climate.

The good news is that methane doesn’t stay in the atmosphere as long as other greenhouse gases, so decisive action to cut methane emissions today can pay big dividends. Further cause for hope is the fact that we have the tools and technology to cut methane pollution from the oil and gas sector by as much as 65 percent below 2012 levels by 2025. With effective government action, we can hold the oil and gas industry accountable for the 16 million metric tons of methane it dumps into the atmosphere, and keep the planet from baking in doing so.

Not only does methane pollution from the oil and gas industry jeopardize the continued habitability of our planet, but its extraction poisons communities. Methane is released alongside toxic pollutants such as benzene, formaldehyde, and ethylbenzene, which can cause debilitating health problems for millions of people.

It's time to work together to cut methane pollution from the oil and gas industry. Join us in calling on the EPA to aggressively cut methane pollution.

Natural gas flare
Spencer Platt

Flared gas is burned off at Apache Corporations operations at the Deadwood gas plant in the Permian Basin on February 5, 2015 in Garden City, Texas.

Your Actions Matter

Your messages make a difference, even if we have leaders who don't want to listen. Here's why.

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You level the playing field.

Elected officials pay attention when they see that we are paying attention.

They may be hearing from industry lobbyists left and right, but hearing the stories of their constituents — that’s your power.

Our legislators serve at the pleasure of the people who gave them their job — you. When you contact your elected official, you’re putting a face and a name on an issue. Whether or not you voted for them, they work for you, for the duration of their term.

Make sure your elected officials know whose community and whose values they represent. (Find your local, state, and federal elected officials.)

Your action is with us in court.

If a federal agency finalizes a harmful action, the record of public comments provides a basis for bringing them into court.

Throughout each of the public comment periods we alert you to, Earthjustice’s attorneys are researching and writing in-depth, technical comments to submit — detailing how the regulation could and should be stronger to protect the environment, our communities, and our planet.

We need you to join us — your specific experiences, knowledge, and voice are crucial to add to the Administrative Record through the comment periods.

Lawsuits we file that challenge weak or harmful federal regulations rely on what was submitted during the comment period. The court can only look at documents that are in the Administrative Record — including the public comments — to decide if the agency did something improper.

Your actions aid our litigation. Taking action and submitting comments during a comment period is substantively important.

It’s the law.

Federal agencies must pause what they’re doing and ask for — and consider — your comment.

Many of us may have never heard of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), but laws like these require our government to ask the public to weigh in before agencies adopt or change regulations.

Regulations essentially describe how federal agencies will carry out laws — including decisions that could undermine science, or weaken safeguards on public health.

Public comments are collected at various points throughout the federal government’s rulemaking process, including when a regulation is proposed and finalized. (Learn more about the rulemaking process.) These comments become part of the official, legal public record — the “Administrative Record.”

When the public responds with a huge outpouring of support for environmental protections, these individual messages collectively undercut politicians' attempts to claim otherwise.

What this means is each of us can take a role in shaping the rules our government creates — and ensuring those rules are fair and effective.