Washington, D.C. — More than 100 oil and gas companies are affiliated with a lawsuit aimed at blocking the methane pollution limits of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA, a new analysis by the Center for American Progress found. Notably, President Donald Trump’s nominee for EPA administrator, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, sued to block the pollution limits as well.
“Big Oil is fighting in every arena for its right to pollute—in court, in Congress, and in a newly friendly White House,” said Alison Cassady, Director of Domestic Energy Policy at CAP and co-author of the report. “If Scott Pruitt is confirmed as EPA administrator, oil and gas companies will have more than a new ally on their side; they will have a co-litigant in charge of the fate of the rules.”
In 2016, the EPA finalized the first-ever federal limits on methane pollution from the oil and gas sector, the largest industrial source of methane in the United States. In November 2016, the Bureau of Land Management, or BLM, also finalized a rule to reduce methane leaks and waste from oil and gas operations on public lands. The oil and gas sector—represented by 24 trade associations—immediately filed suit against the EPA methane rule. Two of these associations also sued to block the BLM rule.
These trade associations are likely the same parties that now will be pushing the Trump administration and allies in Congress to revoke or nullify these rules.
CAP examined the 24 oil and gas industry trade associations that are suing the EPA and BLM; identified, when possible, the member companies of those associations; and tallied those member companies’ methane pollution levels. CAP found that:
- At least 104 oil and gas production companies reported methane pollution in 2014 or 2015 and—as members at least one of the 24 trade associations—are affiliated with the lawsuits to block the EPA and BLM oil and gas methane standards. This number is likely an underestimate, since not every trade association makes its full membership list public.
- These 104 companies emitted 38.1 million metric tons of methane, measured in carbon dioxide equivalent, in 2015. This is the equivalent to the emissions of running more than 11 coal-fired power plants for a year or burning 20 million tons of coal. The United States could power 4 million homes for a year with the methane that these companies wasted in 2015.
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