New Poll Finds 68% Support EPA Safeguards to Reduce Methane and Flaring Pollution from Oil and Gas Operations is Good Policy and Politics
Washington, D.C. – A new poll released today by EDF Action, Earthworks Action Fund, Sierra Club, and CATF Action finds that voters in battleground and key oil and gas producing states, like Pennsylvania, support the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) taking strong, swift action to limit methane pollution from the oil and gas industry.
The poll, conducted by Global Strategy Group, found more than two thirds of voters in key presidential battleground states (Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, North Carolina, Nevada, and Wisconsin with an oversample in Pennsylvania), support stronger limits on methane emissions, including regular inspections of leaks at oil and gas wells, monitoring large emissions events known as “super emitters,” and tougher equipment standards. In these same states, a majority of voters acknowledge that the climate crisis is a major problem, agree that the U.S. government should take strong action to combat climate change, and agree that we need stricter regulations to reduce air pollution from the oil and gas industry.
Key findings from the poll of battleground and key oil and gas-producing states include:
- 73% of voters support the EPA updating standards with stricter limits on air pollution.
- 68% of voters support the EPA’s proposal to place stronger limits on methane emissions from the oil and gas industry, including regular inspections of leaks at all oil and gas wells, tougher standards on equipment, eliminating emissions from routine flaring at oil wells, and monitoring of large emissions events know as “super-emitters.”
- Strong majorities agree that stronger methane limits will have a positive impact on air quality, health, climate change, future generations, and waste reduction.
- When forced to choose, a 55% to 41% majority of battleground voters agree that stronger methane limits will “create more jobs by encouraging innovation and investments in technology” rather than “destroying more jobs by increasing cost and making American oil and gas companies less competitive.”
- In Pennsylvania, both a battleground and key oil and gas producing state, 69% of voters support strong EPA safeguards to cut methane from oil and gas operations and 60% agree that the EPA should strengthen its proposal to eliminate emissions from routine flaring at oil and gas wells.
“The poll makes clear that battleground state voters support climate action – including stronger limits on methane emissions,” said pollster Andrew Baumann, Senior Vice President at Global Strategy Group. “Further, if candidates run on limiting methane pollution, the polling suggests they will gain support.”
“The results of this poll demonstrate that voters across the country, including in oil and gas producing states, support the Biden administration’s efforts to reduce the oil and gas industry’s methane pollution. The support for efforts to cut methane pollution is both strong and broad, including overwhelming support for EPA to go even further in eliminating pollution from routine flaring. There is no time to waste – each day that passes without strong safeguards in place puts communities, our planet, and health in harm’s way,” said Jon Goldstein, Senior Director, EDF Action.
“Methane pollution from the oil and gas industry is a serious and urgent threat. This poll makes clear that Americans want bold, decisive action by the administration to curb methane pollution that is worsening the climate crisis and harming public health. The EPA cannot miss this opportunity to protect our health and climate – they must finalize the strongest possible rule by the end of the summer,” said Mahyar Sorour, Director of Beyond Fossil Fuels Policy, Sierra Club.
“As the leading industrial emitter of methane, we need strong federal methane standards in place now to cut methane and other air pollution from oil and gas operations. Emissions from oil and gas facilities jeopardize the climate, the communities living near those facilities, and the health and safety of workers. The EPA has an opportunity – and an obligation – to deliver stronger methane standards that will also reduce other air pollution by the end of the summer. That’s what people across the country want and what our communities and planet deserve,” said Lindsey Griffith, Executive Director, CATF Action.
“The warning signs are clear. Right now, communities across the US and the world are experiencing dangerous heat records, floods and raging fires fueled by the climate crisis. The Biden administration and the EPA can make a meaningful difference in the lives of people on the frontlines of oil & gas extraction and our climate by strengthening and finalizing strong methane protections. As this poll shows, that is what Americans want and deserve,” said Lauren Pagel, Earthworks Action Fund.”
Background on the EPA methane rule
In November 2022, President Biden and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued an updated draft rule to cut methane and other harmful pollutants from oil and gas operations. The updated rule makes important improvements and builds on the original draft rule proposed in 2021, but must be further strengthened. In order to meaningfully address climate change, protect public health, and create new jobs, the final EPA methane rule must maintain the comprehensive leak detection and repair (LDAR) standards, ensure that operators at wells capture associated gas and eliminate pollution from routine flaring, maintain zero-emitting pneumatic equipment requirements, strengthen the standards to address emissions from storage tanks, provide a clear pathway for communities and individuals to participate and engage in the Super Emitter Response Program, and maintain the requirement that abandoned wells are subject to inspections until closure.
Samantha Sadowski, Communications Manager, U.S., [email protected], +1 202-440-1717
EDF Action, the advocacy partner of the Environmental Defense Fund, builds political power to protect our environment and the health of American families. Learn more at www.edfaction.org.
Earthworks Action Fund’s mission is to build political support in the United States for protecting communities and the environment from the adverse impacts of mineral and energy development while promoting sustainable solutions. Learn more at www.ewafund.org.
The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with millions of members and supporters. In addition to protecting every person’s right to get outdoors and access the healing power of nature, the Sierra Club works to promote clean energy, safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and legal action. For more information, visit www.sierraclub.org.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, CATF Action announced the launch of a $100,000 digital ad campaign in eight competitive Metro areas across six swing states to highlight the economic, environmental, and public health benefits of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) recent proposal to curb carbon pollution from fossil fuel-fired power plants based on the best control technologies.
“We are encouraged to see EPA take an important step toward making good on its responsibility under the Clean Air Act by proposing new rules to drastically reduce carbon pollution from U.S. power plants,” said Lindsey Griffith, Executive Director, CATF Action. “These standards are critical to reducing harmful carbon pollution and other harmful air pollutants, and give power plants individual flexibility to reduce their emissions in the most cost-effective way. And while tight carbon pollution limits are important in the fight against climate change, this proposal is also estimated to provide subsequent public health benefits by reducing other harmful air pollutants that are emitted alongside CO2. We look forward to commenting on the proposal to ensure these pollution standards are finalized to the strongest degree.”
CATF Action joins other advocacy groups, including NRDC and Evergreen Action, in supporting the Biden administration and the EPA in taking this critical step forward in limiting harmful climate pollution from fossil power plants.
Power plants are the largest industrial cause of global warming in the United States and much of their pollution is uncontrolled despite readily available and cost-effective technologies like carbon capture. EPA’s proposal is a commonsense way to control fossil power plants and significantly reduce carbon pollution.
Benefits of the proposed standards include:
- Flexibility and cost-effectiveness for individual power plants. These rules are not one-size-fits-all. They allow each power plant to consider the best and most affordable approach to reducing its emissions based on its economics and design.
- Significant reduction in carbon dioxide pollution. These rules make important progress in the fight against climate change by tackling a major source of carbon pollution in the U.S.
- Improved community health by reducing co-pollutants like smog and soot. Alongside carbon dioxide, power plants also emit a variety of harmful air toxics. Reducing carbon emissions will reduce other pollutants that cause unhealthy levels of ozone smog and fine particulate pollution.
The ads are running in eight Metro areas across Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.
Washington, D.C. — CATF Action, a U.S. advocacy organization that advances climate and clean energy policies designed to achieve decarbonization, has announced a $50,000 ad campaign in five key congressional districts to thank lawmakers for protecting the Methane Emissions Reduction Program.
The digital ad buy acknowledges members of Congress who voted against H.R.1 in the U.S. House of Representatives, focusing on the importance of keeping the Methane Emissions Reduction Program intact while protecting communities from pollution and promoting American energy independence.
Reducing methane emissions is one of the fastest, most cost-effective, and impactful ways to address climate change and improve the health of millions of Americans living near oil and gas sites. The Methane Emissions Reduction Program is forward-looking, set to put the U.S. on a path to efficiently reduce oil and gas methane emissions, spur innovation, and promote economic growth and domestic energy in line with industry-led goals that support a competitive American energy industry.
“Congress made clear that reducing methane pollution from the oil and gas sector is a top priority with the inclusion of the Methane Emissions Reduction Program in the Inflation Reduction Act,” said Lindsey Griffith, Executive Director, Clear Air Task Force Action. “Repealing the program would be bad for the climate and public health, it would waste energy, and it would cost our economy valuable jobs. This program must remain in place so that these important achievements can be realized.”
The Methane Emissions Reduction Program includes several provisions that, together with other Clean Air Act standards for the oil and gas sector, will help put the U.S. on a path to quickly cut methane emissions.
The ads will run in key House districts in Alaska, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, and Texas, thanking lawmakers from both the Democratic and Republican parties for building on bipartisan progress, combating climate change, and enabling clean energy and economic growth in the U.S.
Arizona – Clean Air Task Force Action, a U.S. advocacy organization that advances climate and clean energy policies designed to achieve decarbonization, today hosted a virtual roundtable with Rep. Tom O’Halleran (AZ-01), business leaders across Arizona’s energy sector, and clean energy advocates to discuss the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) and how its continued implementation will benefit Arizonans and the state’s economy.
“For far too long, we’ve failed to take meaningful action to mitigate the effects of climate change on the desert southwest—drought, fires, and flooding are directly impacting Arizonans every day, be it coming water restrictions for southern Arizona families and farmers, homes and businesses lost to deadly wildfires in overgrown northern forests, or flood after flood destroying the homes and businesses of folks in Flagstaff,” said Rep. Tom O’Halleran (AZ-01). “The Inflation Reduction Act makes historic, targeted investments that address climate change head-on, creating new incentives that will produce cleaner, more affordable energy and create good-paying jobs in the process.”
You can watch a full recording of the roundtable discussion here.
Signed into law in August 2022, the IRA will allocate nearly $370 billion to incentivize the private sector to build out America’s 21st-century clean energy infrastructure. The law will help spur the economic transformation needed to address climate change, make clean energy more accessible and affordable, and direct important investments to underserved communities.
“The Inflation Reduction Act provides much needed certainty to an industry that already employs nearly 10,000 people in Arizona,” said John Mitman, Board President, Arizona Solar Energy Industries Association (AriSEIA). “That certainty will enable even greater investment in a state with immense solar potential and a flourishing electrification hub. This legislation puts Arizona in an ideal position to be a leader in the clean energy sector.”
In Arizona alone, the IRA is expected to create more than 65,000 new, good paying, high-quality jobs in 2035. Additionally, the legislation will reduce energy expenditures each year across the desert southwest region, mitigate extreme heat, prevent wildfires, and provide emergency drought relief to tribes, improve canals, and supply water. In 2030, cost savings from reduced energy expenditures will translate to lower energy costs for Arizonans annually by an average of $360 per household relative to current policy.
“The passage of the IRA is an exciting time for the solar industry and our team at OMCO Solar,” said Eric Goodwin, Director of Business Development, OMCO Solar. “The bill will enable OMCO to leverage our Arizona Manufacturing footprint to bring value to our solar customers in our home state with our factory-direct single axis trackers and fixed tilt ground mount solutions.”
“Korsail Energy is honored to be engaging with Representative O’Halleran and CATF-Action. Today’s discussion reaffirmed that the Inflation Reduction Act will be a powerful, pragmatic solution for Arizona as it transitions towards a clean energy future,” said Scott Meyers, Development Analyst, Korsail Energy. “As a utility-scale solar and storage developer, Korsail Energy remains committed to working with diverse groups of stakeholders to proliferate the adoption of zero-carbon energy.”
The IRA will also substantially increase Arizona’s clean energy capacity by expanding solar and wind energy, investing in existing nuclear energy, increasing rural and tribal energy, and clean vehicle manufacturing. The IRA is projected to result in 47 gigawatts of new solar capacity and four gigawatts of new wind capacity, adding up to more than 50 gigawatts of new renewable energy. That is enough energy to power the equivalent of roughly 7.5 million homes.
“The Inflation Reduction Act is a once in a generation opportunity for the state to significantly improve our transportation and electric systems; making them cleaner, more equitable, reliable and affordable,” said Amanda Ormond, Director, Western Grid Group. “Arizona needs strong collaboration and coordination across energy sectors and jurisdictions to capitalize on these opportunities.”
“The passage of the Inflation Reduction Act is a crucial step toward securing energy equity and a clean future,” said Trevor Warren, Founder and President, Higherwire. “At Higherwire, our mission is to reduce burdens to renewable energy storage and production, and this legislation will help us achieve that goal. It will also spur investment and innovation to produce clean, cost-effective energy that will create local jobs and reduce energy costs for all Arizona families.”
“Ørsted is excited to be developing its first project in Arizona – Eleven Mile Solar in Pinal County,” said Brianna Berkson, Western Regional Development, Ørsted. “With the passage of the IRA, we look forward to working on more projects in Arizona, bringing jobs and tax dollars to rural areas, and offering low-cost energy to the grid.”
“The Inflation Reduction Act is a win for Arizona businesses and consumers, and the benefits will be far-reaching,” said Lindsey Baxter Griffith, Executive Director, Clean Air Task Force Action. “The law will create high-quality jobs in Arizona and across the country, support the transition to a clean energy economy, and keep American energy globally competitive and affordable for decades to come, all while helping the U.S. achieve our climate goals.”
Other panelists included Jim Mapstead from Accurate Signs; Stephen Lassiter from Sunrun; Adam Stafford from Western Resource Advocates; and Tyler Orcutt from the Coalition for Community Solar Access.