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By CER News Desk on Dec 14, 2012 with 4 responses

7 States Sue EPA Over Methane from Oil and Gas Drilling

Seven states in the northeastern part of the United States have officially announced plans to sue the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for its alleged violations of the Clean Air Act in failing to address and limit methane emissions resulting from drilling for natural resources like oil and gas.

In a press release issued earlier this week, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman outlined the complaint, which focuses on methane emissions from resource-heavy states like Pennsylvania and Virginia. Joined by Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Vermont, the state of New York is leading the cause, demanding that the EPA take immediate action to reduce methane emissions that threaten to increase the already troubling effects of anthropogenic climate change. (Read More: U.S. Oil Production Surges to Highest Level in 15 Years)

For its part, the EPA has already announced new rules to be implemented in 2015 that would require firms drilling for gas and oil to install new equipment and enforce new rules that would limit the amount of methane added to the atmosphere. Regarding this complaint, the EPA has promised a response; with a 60-day notice of the seven-state coalition’s intention to sue currently on the books, the agency will have to do so quickly in order to avoid a potentially messy lawsuit.

While the complaint in question references only those methane emission that result from the oil and gas industry, the largest source of that greenhouse gas in the United States in accounting for 37 percent of all emissions, the trend towards focusing on methane could lead to the EPA forcing new rules on the raising of livestock, which accounts for 21 percent, and landfills, which account for 16 percent. (Read more: Global Carbon Dioxide Emissions — Facts and Figures)

Overall, methane is responsible for just 3.8 percent of total greenhouse gas emission in the U.S., with carbon dioxide ranking as the greatest threat.

  1. By Steve Last on December 14, 2012 at 2:08 pm

    It makes fascinating reading for me to read that a number of States are planning: ” to sue the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for its alleged violations of the Clean Air Act in failing to address and limit methane emissions resulting from drilling for natural resources like oil and gas”. I presume that the emissions are due to a lack of suitable regulations to make the drilling companies flare off the gas that is produced during drilling, rather than allowing it to escape to the atmosphere? It does seem negligent to allow such escapes as I don’t think that flare off this gas would be particularly hard to do, nor expensive in the scheme of things.

  2. By patrick j kerfoot on December 15, 2012 at 11:39 am

     Amazing that these states are going after the EPA when each time in the past the EPA tried to address these problems with much resistance. Now this resistance came mostly from those who are front men for the oil and gas industry. These states have their own government agencies that can address and confront these problems, what’s up with that, can they not attack the problem within their own states or are they out to discredit the EPA. Take a good look at the Dakota’s where individual rights have been crushed by the oil and gas industry, the media can not even express the real life situation that are happening to the people, enviroment and future of those states, because of the interference of elected frontmen for the oil and gas industries. Amazing what the short sighted quest for more energy and obviously need for more profits for so few is doing to our country and the world



  3. By notKit P on December 16, 2012 at 1:17 pm

    Regulations and programs to reduce methane emissions have been around since Clinton was POTUS. Where we live in Virginia, recovering methane before mining coal is a major source of ghg reduction.


    AG from states that import lots of energy from other states like California and NY regularly take the states that produce their energy to court. There is no political downside for pointing a finger at the evil people in other states who work hard for a living. It is much safer than actually doing something in state that would get you fired by the voters.




    “Take a good look at the Dakota’s where individual rights have been crushed ”




    You have the right to be poor, you have the right to be unemployed, you have the fight to watch your children move away to find a job, and the right to tell folks from NYC that they live in a cesspool to mind their own business.

    You can tell a lot about people by their footwear. Having spent a lot of time wearing steel toed shoes and a hard hat, it is interesting what silly impractical shoes the entitled rich choose. If you are wearing Birkenstock with $200 ‘organic’ socks it is a good bet you never had a real job and are of no use when it comes to producing energy or protecting the environment.


  4. By Scott on September 20, 2013 at 5:53 pm

    Case closed…
    New Study Says Fracking Doesn’t Contribute to Global Warming
    A groundbreaking study eases fears that the process at the heart of the U.S.
    energy booms contributes significantly to climate change.
    Frackers, rejoice.
    A new study in the Proceedings of the National Academies of Science concludes that hydraulic fracturing–the controversial technique behind the nation’s recent oil and gas boom–doesn’t appear to contribute significantly to global warming, as many
    environmental groups have warned.

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