Conservation Groups Sue EPA for Failure to Adequately Protect against Oil, Methane Gas Industry

by | Jan 15, 2021

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Two conservation groups have launched a lawsuit to fight the EPA’s “failure to require adequate pollution controls for the oil and methane gas industry” in Chicago and areas of California. The Center for Biological Diversity and the Center for Environmental Health point out that two Canadian provinces require that the oil and methane gas industry install zero emission pneumatic controllers. “There is no reason the EPA cannot adopt this readily available technology,” says Kaya Sugerman with the Center for Environmental Health.

The EPA’s guidelines for oil and methane gas production recommend pneumatic controllers that emit volatile organic compounds, when pneumatic controllers that do not emit any of these compounds are in widespread use at production sites and compressor stations in both the US and Canada, the groups argue.

“Taking action to increase the use of zero emission controllers has a co-benefit of reducing methane, a dangerous greenhouse gas that is 87 times more damaging for climate change than carbon dioxide,” the groups say. They point out that, according to the EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Inventory, pneumatic controllers are the largest source of methane from the oil industry and the second-largest source of methane from the methane gas industry.

The oil and methane gas industry is the largest industrial source of emissions of the volatile organic compounds that contribute to the formation of ground-level ozone.

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