Stop Wasteful Methane Flaring

Target: EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy

Goal: Tighten regulations on dangerous methane flaring and emissions at U.S. oil wells.

Methane is a gas that can be up to 84 times more potent than carbon dioxide (CO2) at trapping heat in our atmosphere, which is the driving mechanism behind climate change. Currently, oil extraction operations in the U.S. produce a lot of methane, contributing heavily to overall greenhouse gas emissions. We must demand that these methane emissions are regulated instead of emitted into our atmosphere.

Many domestic oil operations choose to simply flare (burn) methane to dispose of it. When methane is flared, it is converted to CO2 and released into the atmosphere. This practice of flaring is unnecessary; many domestic well can choose not to flare off methane excess.

Currently, the EPA’s new emissions standards call for massive reductions in fugitive (released) methane over the next decade. However, these standards include no limits on flaring and only apply to new and modified wells. Placing restrictions on flaring, instead of treating it as an acceptable way to dispose of waste, would encourage operations to find much more productive alternatives or methods to deal with methane.

We need tighter restrictions on methane emissions and waste if we are serious about curbing the effects of climate change in the coming years. Capturing methane to ensure it is not released into the atmosphere is only the first step. Please urge the EPA to strengthen its regulations on methane and address the wasteful practice of flaring.


Dear Administrator McCarthy,

Methane is a dangerous greenhouse gas that has a much greater atmospheric heating potential than carbon dioxide. Currently, the EPA has standards in place to limit methane emissions in new and modified oil extraction wells. However, these standards do not reach far enough. They neglect to address the wasteful practice of flaring in which methane is simply burned and converted to CO2.

When natural gas operations burn off methane, this contributes to climate change by emitting greenhouse gases. It would be efficient and less wasteful if this methane gas were utilized for energy while dirty oil and gas wells still operate. However, to save our atmosphere and planet, we must move away from oil and gas infrastructure altogether and move toward renewable energy sources instead.

Flaring is an unnecessary and wasteful practice that not all domestic oil wells choose to use. I urge you to tighten restrictions on current flares by setting limits on methane emissions for all domestic oil and gas wells. This is just one step we must take if we want to truly reduce dangerous emissions in the coming years and shift toward a renewable energy future. I demand that you take action against methane flaring and the oil and gas operations that are guilty of it.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: WildEarth Guardians

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  1. That is NOT methane. It’s Natural Gas. Same stuff that heats homes in many cities. Wasteful to flare, yes.

  2. Both the petitioner and Kyle Ness exhibit their ignorance of the reason for flaring. First off Mr. Ness, in most parts of the U.S., domestic heating and cooking is done with natural gas that has been scrubbed to methane. Flaring of gases at refineries is done to eliminate gases collected from many production processes most of which are worthless and toxic such as hydrogen sulfide. Startups of cracking/ processing units produce unusable but flammable gases that only flaring can dispose of safely.

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