SACRAMENTO – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra today slammed the Trump Administration’s announcement of a final rule gutting standards that limit emissions of methane and other harmful pollutants from new, reconstructed, and modified facilities in the oil and natural gas industry. Methane is a super-pollutant up to 87 times more potent than carbon dioxide in its ability to trap heat over a 20-year timeframe. Oil and natural gas operations – production, processing, transmission, and distribution – are the largest single industrial source of methane emissions in the U.S. Today’s rule will increase emissions of methane, volatile organic compounds, and other hazardous pollutants, accelerating the impacts of climate change and threatening public health, particularly to children, older adults, and those suffering from chronic lung disease and asthma.
“From the coronavirus to the climate crisis, President Trump’s gut reaction to national emergencies has been to do the opposite of what science and commonsense call for,” said Attorney General Becerra. “It’s not only negligent, it’s unlawful. We won’t sit silently while the EPA allows this super pollutant to rapidly warm our atmosphere.”
On November 22, 2019, Attorney General Becerra, leading a coalition of 21 attorneys general, the City of Chicago, the City and County of Denver, and the Colorado Department of Public Health, filed comments opposing the EPA’s unlawful proposal to roll back standards limiting methane emissions from new oil and gas facilities.
Attorney General Becerra has long fought back against the Trump Administration’s efforts to dismantle standards that reduce dangerous methane emissions. In July, Attorney General Becerra, the California Air Resources Board (CARB), and New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas prevailed for the third time in lawsuits challenging the Trump Administration’s attempt to weaken or repeal the Waste Prevention Rule, a commonsense measure to reduce the enormous waste of natural gas on public lands. That same month, Attorney General Becerra, co-leading a multistate coalition, filed a motion for summary judgement in a lawsuit against the EPA for unreasonably delaying issuance of guidelines limiting methane emissions from existing sources in the oil and natural gas sector. In 2018, Attorney General Becerra led a multistate lawsuit against the EPA over its failure to implement a landfill methane regulation.