Thursday, December 13, 2012

Northeastern states tell EPA they will sue it for not targeting oil and gas industry's methane leaks

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has notified the Environmental Protection Agency that he and six other Northeastern states plan to sue the agency for "failing to address methane emissions from the oil and natural gas industry . . . a powerful climate change pollutant emitted by the industry in large quantities," a press release from his office said.

The states will charge that EPA violated the Clean Air Act by largely ignoring methane when it recently updated air-pollution rules for the industry, which Schneiderman says is "the single largest source of man-made methane emissions in the U.S., and the second largest industrial source of domestic greenhouse gas emissions behind only electric power plants."

The recent rules update targeted hydraulic fracturing, which has made the gas industry boom, but did not address methane. The industry acknowledges that its wells and pipelines sometimes leak methane, but says its facilities generally prevent such emissions.

Such lawsuits require a 60-day notice of intention to sue. The notice is here. Such suits can result in settlements in which EPA agrees to increase its regulation. Joining New York in the case are Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Vermont. (Read more)

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