Bennet Applauds New EPA Rules for Limiting Powerful Methane Emissions from Oil and Gas Operations

Colorado Leads the Nation on Reducing Methane Pollution for New & Existing Oil & Gas Facilities

Washington, D.C. – Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet released the following statement after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) unveiled new rules to regulate methane emissions from oil and gas operations: 

“I am thrilled to see the EPA following Colorado’s leadership on cutting powerful methane pollution from new and existing oil and gas operations. Methane is harmful to our climate, environment, and our health — especially for the nearly 10 million Americans who live near oil and gas wells. That’s why Colorado has continued to lead the nation in regulating methane from oil and gas facilities — and we’re doing so with the support of both environmental groups and industry leaders. I’m glad the EPA is taking this much-needed step, which will not only cut methane pollution, but provide a boost for the methane mitigation industry and Colorado’s economy. I will continue working to strengthen methane protections, protect the health of our communities, and combat climate change.” 

Colorado led the nation as the first state to adopt common-sense rules for methane pollution for new and existing oil and gas facilities in 2014 — and has since strengthened those rules three times. The Colorado Air Quality Control Commission has adopted standards for frequent leak monitoring and the use of zero-bleed pneumatic controllers, including retrofits for older wells, with broad support from environmental groups as well as industry. 

Critically important, the new EPA rules would extend pollution standards to existing oil and gas well sites — following Colorado’s lead — in addition to strengthening requirements for new facilities. It also includes protections for another significant source of methane, pneumatic controllers, and encourages the use of advanced screening technologies to identify and fix leaks. EPA has indicated it will continue working on these rules as part of a supplemental proposal. As part of that process, it will be critical that the final standards address smaller, but important sources of methane in a comprehensive and cost-effective manner, as well as target harmful flaring — a practice that Colorado has banned.

In the Senate, Bennet has consistently worked to limit methane emissions and strengthen oil and gas protections. Last month, he led members of the Colorado Congressional Delegation in a letter urging the EPA to swiftly adopt strong protective methane standards for the oil and gas sector. Before that, Bennet pushed back on the array of Trump Administration efforts to repeal environmental protections, including the Bureau of Land Management’s Methane Rule limiting methane on public and tribal lands. Earlier this year, Bennet spoke on the Senate floor, urging Congress to return to sensible methane policy, and joined his colleagues in a critical bipartisan vote to restore EPA’s ability to regulate methane from oil and gas. 

In June, Bennet reintroduced legislation to clean up abandoned, or orphaned, oil and gas wells, to cut powerful methane emissions and ensure that irresponsible operators — not taxpayers — pay for the cost of cleanup.