New Federal Methane Rule Is an Important Step Forward in Reducing Greenhouse Gases

Washington, D.C. —  Today, after five years of work by the Obama Administration and countless hours of advocacy by the Environmental Integrity Project and partner groups, the administration released a rule to curb the vast amount of natural gas that oil and gas operators waste on federal and Indian lands through excessive flaring, venting, and leaks.

“We praise and support this important step forward, and we will fight to ensure its effective implementation of the long-awaited Methane and Waste Prevention Rule,” said Adam Kron, senior attorney for the Environmental Integrity Project (EIP). “We urge the incoming Trump administration to follow through and enforce the rule, because climate change is a real threat that knows no political boundaries.”

Given that the primary component of natural gas is methane—a greenhouse gas 87 times more potent than carbon dioxide—the rule is a big step toward meeting the Obama Administration’s goals of cutting the oil and gas industry’s methane emissions 40 to 45 percent by 2025 and meeting U.S. commitments under the Paris Agreement.

Here are the facts:

  • The federal Bureau of Land Management estimates that between 2009 and 2015, oil and gas operators on public and Indian lands wasted 462 billion cubic feet of natural gas—or enough to power more than 6 million households for a year.
  • This wasted natural gas is owned by the American public, at a lost value of more than $330 million each year.
  • When implemented, the new rule will cut this waste dramatically, reducing flaring by 49 percent and cutting venting and leaks by 35 percent, with an overall reduction of 41 billion cubic feet of natural gas annually.

The Environmental Integrity Project is a 14-year-old nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to holding polluters and government accountable to protect public health.

Media contact: Tom Pelton, Environmental Integrity Project, (443) 510-2574 or