Sierra Club and Allies Take Action to Limit Air Pollution from the Oil and Gas Industry
December 1, 2011
On November 30, as part of a broad coalition of environmental groups, Sierra Club submitted extensive comments on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed rules regulating air pollution from the oil and natural gas sector.
Oil and gas development is rapidly expanding across the United States and polluting the air in major metropolitan areas such as Dallas-Fort Worth, Denver, and Pittsburgh, as well as in rural communities in many states, including Wyoming, New Mexico, Colorado, Pennsylvania, and New York. Oil and gas development threatens local communities by emitting smog-forming compounds that can lead to serious respiratory illness and toxic chemicals that cause cancer. Drilling and development also pose a threat nationally and globally by emitting substantial amounts of methane, a potent greenhouse gas that causes global warming.
In their comments addressing EPA’s proposed standards for the control of conventional air pollutants such as sulfur dioxide (SO2) and volatile organic compounds (VOC), Sierra Club and its allies commend the agency’s efforts to regulate air pollution from the oil and gas industry, while identifying areas where the rule needs strengthening. For example, EPA has not proposed any control measures to directly reduce methane emissions from the oil and gas sector. Also, the proposed rule fails to address substantial pollutant emissions from existing sources and doesn’t apply to certain new sources of air pollution, such as oil wells.
In their comments addressing EPA’s proposed standards for the control of hazardous air pollutants, the groups urge the agency to set strong emission limits to protect communities living near oil and gas facilities from the health threats caused by toxic air pollution. In particular, EPA must give meaningful consideration to the health risk to children and to cumulative impacts in communities that face many sources of toxic air pollution in addition to oil and gas. In addition, EPA unlawfully failed to consider existing technologies that control toxic pollution at much higher levels than the proposed rule would require.
Details and Documents:
Sierra Club et al. Comments on New Source Performance Standards
November 30, 2011
Sierra Club et al. Comments on National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants
November 30, 2011
See other "Fighting Dirty Oil and Promoting Green Transportation" cases.