Washington, D.C. (October 10, 2014) – The BlueGreen Alliance today urged President Obama to adopt a strong methane reduction strategy in order to advance the U.S. Climate Action Plan and meet the administration’s target of reducing the nation’s global warming pollution 17 percent by 2020.
“Methane is a potent source of emissions, and taking steps to reduce emissions is a substantial opportunity to put American workers squarely at the forefront of developing, manufacturing, and implementing these technologies—providing high-quality jobs and stimulating local economies,” said Kim Glas, BlueGreen Alliance Executive Director.
The full text of the letter appears below.
October 10, 2014
President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20500
Dear President Obama,
The BlueGreen Alliance—a partnership of 10 of America’s largest labor unions and 5 national environmental groups—represents more than 15 million members and supporters working toward a cleaner, fairer and more competitive American economy.
The oil and gas industry is the nation’s largest industrial source of methane, the main component of natural gas and a potent greenhouse gas. Reducing methane emissions throughout the industry’s operations needs to be a key part of our nation’s strategy to address climate change.
In March 2014, the White House indicated that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will determine in the fall of 2014 how best to reduce methane emissions from oil and gas operations.
The BlueGreen Alliance supports the move toward a national set of standards to directly regulate methane emissions from the oil and gas industry. Methane standards could contribute substantially to meeting the administration’s target of reducing the nation’s global warming pollution 17 percent by 2020, with even greater reductions post-2020. In addition:
- Proven, low-cost technologies can eliminate as much as half of all climate-warming methane emissions from onshore oil and gas operations in the next 5 years. American companies in over 40 states are at the forefront of developing, manufacturing, and implementing these technologies, providing high-quality jobs and stimulating local economies.
- Keeping methane ‘in the system’ will help companies cut waste in addition to reducing the climate change impact of these emissions. A recent report by ICF International estimates methane emissions could be reduced by 40 percent below projected 2018 levels at an average annual cost of less than one cent per thousand cubic feet of produced natural gas.
- Some companies recognize this benefit and have adopted methane pollution reduction measures on their own accord. And while some states, such as Colorado, have taken action to reduce methane emissions, no national standards are in place to protect communities across the country and to effectively reduce the contribution of methane leakage to climate change.
We applaud the commitments the Obama administration has made to date to address climate change, to include fuel efficiency and pollution standards that are helping ensure America is on the forefront of building a clean vehicle fleet, as well as sensible and attainable emissions reductions through the nation’s power sector. We support continuing efforts to build on this legacy by establishing national methane emissions standards at the earliest opportunity. By doing so, we can reduce waste in our nation’s energy sector while also reducing pollution that is disrupting our climate.