New York’s latest activist-attorney general has put the EPA on notice about greenhouse gas emissions – more specifically, methane.
Eric Schneiderman’s office sent a release this morning describing a multi-state coalition “to curb climate change pollution from (the) oil and gas industry.”
Schneiderman calls methane, “a very potent greenhouse gas.” Pound for pound, the release states, “it warms the climate about 25 times more than carbon dioxide.”
The seven states, New York, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode island, Connecticut, Maryland and Delaware, sent a notice of intent to sue today, charging:
EPA has missed the applicable deadline for determining whether standards and guidelines limiting methane emissions from oil and gas operations under section 111 of the Clean Air Act are appropriate and for issuing such standards, EPA’s ongoing failure to address the sector’s methane emissions violates the Clean Air Act and harms the health and welfare of our residents.
In the press release, Schneiderman writes that the EPA’s “failure” leaves 95% of this pollution unregulated and uncontrolled.
“Today,” he writes, “our coalition is putting EPA on notice that we are prepared to sue to force action on curbing climate change pollution from the oil and gas industry.”
The detailed, seven-page notice of intent traces the background of greenhouse emissions’ contributions to climate change, touching on the melting glaciers and ice caps, severe droughts, and a “string” of extreme storms in the Northeast. It notes the EPA issued its first standards for the oil and gas industry in 1985, and finalized the required review of those rules just this year – leaving out methane.
It says, “EPA has long known the significance of the oil and gas sector’s contribution to methane emissions and the availability and cost-effectiveness of measures for reducing those emissions.”
We are willing to explore any effective means of resolving this matter without the need for litigation. However, if we do not hear from you within the applicable time periods provided in section 304 of the Act, we intend to file suit in United States District Court.
The attorneys general’s suit comes as New York’s environmental conservation department struggles to finalize its own rules for regulating hydrofracking in New York State. Hydrofracking’s been on hold in the state since 2008; the final regulations are now expected by the end of February.