Unsurprisingly, the oil and gas industry celebrated when the Trump administration’s announced their latest action to gut common sense safeguards that cut methane pollution from the oil and gas industry. Their recent announcement gives the oil and gas industry a free pass to continue business as usual — spewing methane and associated air toxics at the expense of climate, health, taxpayers and the environment.
After the administration made its announcement, ONE Future — a coalition of companies that purport to be the most forward-thinking in the industry — praised the administration for its decision, doubling down on voluntary measures that we know won’t work.
For almost a decade, the oil and gas industry has promised to reduce methane waste and pollution from oil and gas production. But as NASA clearly demonstrated earlier this year, the oil and gas industry is the main culprit in the rise of global methane concentrations since the onset of the fracking boom. Protections like the BLM methane rule are the only way the public can hold industry accountable for reducing methane waste and pollution.
ONE Future says they “have a voluntary, performance-based program” that is “more effective” than federal standards. NASA and other peer-reviewed research, and 850+ optical gas imaging videos of methane pollution from oil and gas operations nationwide, put the lie to their claim.
We can’t leave it up to industry to determine whether or not they think they’re doing enough to reduce methane pollution. That would be like letting a driver make a promise to a police officer that they’d try “do better next time,” instead of getting a ticket for running a red-light and putting other drivers in harm’s way.
Secretary Zinke’s rollback allows oil and gas companies to thumb their noses at taxpayers, our health, and the climate. It’s a clear move in favor of lobbyists in Washington who represent the oil and gas industry — prioritizing their profits over the American public’s interest in keeping our air clean, avoiding climate change, and funding schools and infrastructure.
Our only hope in stopping catastrophic climate change from wreaking havoc on our communities requires two things: to implement meaningful Federal standards with robust enforcement, and to make a rapid, clean and just transition to a fossil fuel free economy. The oil and gas industry has already demonstrated that their actions speak louder than their words. If what’s past is prologue, we simply cannot count on oil and gas companies to reduce methane waste and pollution. Instead, we must strengthen common sense federal methane safeguards in order to reduce waste and pollution and protect our communities and future generations. Instead of blustering about proven-ineffective, voluntary methane reduction measures, ONE Future — and the companies that it purports to represent — should step up, and publicly back common sense methane rules.