Bennet, Colleagues Urge EPA to Strengthen Methane Actions

Denver Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet joined U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.) and 13 of their Senate colleagues in urging Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael Regan to strengthen the EPA’s proposed rule to reduce methane emissions from oil and gas production and to swiftly implement key provisions of the Methane Emission Reduction Program.

“We strongly support the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) critical work to reduce methane emissions from oil and gas production, and we encourage you to seize existing opportunities to drive sharp reductions in emissions of this potent greenhouse gas,” wrote Bennet, Carper, and the senators. “Longstanding provisions of the Clean Air Act, together with the amendments Congress recently adopted in the Inflation Reduction Act, require EPA to implement a comprehensive program to reduce oil and gas methane emissions.” 

“We urge you to swiftly finalize the proposed rules, with the addition of effective requirements to end wasteful routine flaring of gas, and rapidly implement the regulatory updates and financial support required under the Methane Emission Reduction Program in the Inflation Reduction Act,” continued the senators. “Each of the facets of EPA’s work to reduce methane and other greenhouse gas emissions from oil and gas production that we have highlighted here is vital to our efforts to slow climate change.” 

Bennet has consistently worked to limit methane emissions and strengthen oil and gas protections at the federal level, following Colorado’s lead. In February, Bennet joined bicameral colleagues in urging the EPA to support more robust standards for methane emissions and pollution from oil and natural gas operations. Bennet also led a group of Western Senators in a letter urging the Bureau of Land Management to eliminate routine venting and flaring from oil and gas operations on public and Tribal lands, which Colorado has already banned on state lands. 

Bennet introduced the Oil and Gas Bonding Reform and Orphaned Well Remediation Act, which would provide funding to clean up abandoned or orphaned oil and gas wells while strengthening bonding requirements and expanding opportunities for local input in lease sales on public lands. Bennet’s bill ensures irresponsible operators — not taxpayers — pay for the cost of cleanup. Bennet also pushed for the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to include funding for orphaned oil and gas well cleanup. This year, Colorado expects approximately $79 million from the law to support programs to plug, remediate, and reclaim orphaned wells across the state, in line with Bennet’s bill.

In addition to Bennet and Carper, the letter was also signed by U.S. Senators Edward Markey (D-Mass.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Angus King (I-Maine), Peter Welch (D-Vt.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), and Cory Booker (D-N.J.).

The text of the letter is available HERE.