Target: Sally Jewell, Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior
Goal: Demand substantial methane emission reduction targets
New rules on permissible quantities of methane emissions are set to be introduced this January. Methane is a more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide and contributes to human-caused climate change. In anticipation of insufficient methane reduction targets, tell the Interior Department that we expect and support ambitious goals for methane and other greenhouse gas reductions.
U.S. oil production has surged since President Barack Obama took office situating the nation as the world’s largest producer. Since 2008, oil production has risen 74 percent while natural gas production has grown 22 percent. Methane pollution is a serious concern regarding positive feedback effects for the climate and adverse health effects, such as asthma and respiratory diseases.
There are many low-cost, available techniques to reduce methane emissions like improved seals and leak detection. Because most of these solutions divert the escaping methane back into productive use, they have a low net cost, not to mention the cost-benefit justification of the social value of reducing general methane pollution.
A commonsense approach to methane reduction is to set emission standards under Section 111 of the Clean Air Act. Under this framework, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) can reduce emissions by up to 48 percent. However, the EPA must include retrofitting or closing existing oil wells and natural gas sources as well as regulating new sources. Despite the seeming advantage of the flexibility Section 111 provides states to regulate emissions through market-based programs, these would inevitably lead to loophole exploitation and subpar reductions.
These regulations could turn out to be a routine and superficial “greening” of the oil and gas industry, however, environmentalists remain hopeful. Sign the petition below to demand that the authors of the upcoming methane regulations act proportionately to the climate crisis at hand and enforce strict emission reduction requirements.
Dear Mrs. Jewell,
In the coming year, your Interior Department plans to release new regulations on the oil and natural gas industry. These include standards on methane emissions, stricter controls on hydraulic fracturing, requirements for drilling in the Arctic, new rules for shipping oil by rail and tougher standards on offshore drilling.
The EPA has already failed to classify coal ash, the toxic byproduct of coal production, as hazardous so many are weary about future environmental protections enabled by governmental agencies. Nevertheless, we must push past the bureaucratic semblances of environmental concern and always demand stricter rules. We must hastily disincentive future fossil fuel production by making it too costly a venture. A case study is the cessation of drilling operations in the arctic by Shell in response to the many costly obstacles inherent in arctic drilling and ones achieved by activists.
Amidst the coming sea change in governmental responses to climate change, we ask that you push for U.S. leadership in reduction targets. We respectfully demand that you seek the strictest regulations on methane emissions and the highest reduction targets possible.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Ingvar Tjostheim via Shutterstock