April 23, 2012

Statements on EPA's Updated, Achievable Air Pollution Standards for Oil and Natural Gas

In response to a court deadline, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has finalized standards to reduce harmful air pollution associated with oil and natural gas production. The updated standards, required by the Clean Air Act, were informed by the important feedback from a range of stakeholders including the public, public health groups, states and industry. As a result, the final standards reduce implementation costs while also ensuring they are achievable and can be met by relying on proven, cost-effective technologies as well as processes already in use at approximately half of the fractured natural gas wells in the United States. These technologies will not only reduce 95 percent of the harmful emissions from these wells that contribute to smog and lead to health impacts, they will also enable companies to collect additional natural gas that can be sold. Here’s what people across the country are saying about EPA’s updated, achievable air pollution standards for oil and natural gas:

Albert A. Rizzo, M.D., Chair, Board of Directors of the American Lung Association:
“…The cleanup of air pollution from oil and natural gas wells is essential to protect public health and growing in importance as the industry expands.  We applaud EPA’s response to this rapidly expanding source of air pollution…”
Howard Feldman, American Petroleum Institute (API) Director of Regulatory and Scientific Affairs:

“The industry has led efforts to reduce emissions by developing new technologies that were adopted in the rule. EPA has made some improvements in the rules that allow our companies to continue reducing emissions while producing the oil and natural gas our country needs. This is a large and complicated rulemaking for an industry so critical to the economy, and we need to thoroughly review the final rule to fully understand its impacts.”
 Lynn Thorp, Clean Water Action National Campaigns Director:
“Our members in Pennsylvania, Texas, and Colorado have suffered because state regulators haven’t acted to control oil and gas operations, so these standards are a win-win-win. They protect people from air pollution, help curb climate change and save the industry money. People expect the federal government to use their authority to protect their health, their drinking water and the air they breathe and this is a good first step.”
Trip Van Noppen, Earthjustice President:
“Left to its own devices, the oil and gas industry has turned the clear skies over Wyoming as smoggy as the car-choked highways of Los Angeles. For decades, industry had a free pollution pass. Thanks to a court victory, that changes today. There is more work to be done to protect Americans living near oil and gas fields from cancer and other unacceptable health threats, but this rule from EPA is an important first step.”
John Rumpler, senior attorney for Environment America:
“From Colorado to Pennsylvania, the gas industry is making a killing from drilling, and at the very least they should cut dirty and dangerous air pollution that threatens our families’ health. EPA’s action today is a breath of fresh air for every man, woman, and child living in the shadow of the gas drilling boom.”
Michael Brune, Executive Director of the Sierra Club:

“EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson is taking an important first step in closing loopholes for the natural gas industry and addressing dangerous air quality levels in and near frack-fields across the country. The natural gas industry dumps massive amounts of air pollutants into our air every day, sickening families and children.  An industry that touts its ability to efficiently drill thousands of wells thousands of feet into the earth is crying wolf when it claims it can’t build enough tanks to capture wellhead pollution.  It’s time we clean up the natural gas industry’s dirty and reckless practices.”


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