Testimony

John Minode’e Petoskey

No More Hot Air from Big Oil

ELPC testified that the EPA must adopt a strong standard that reduces methane emissions from the oil and gas sector to 65% below 2012 levels by 2025.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has begun the process of revising the Trump administration’s bad climate policy. Part of that process is reviewing the methane emissions standards under the Clean Air Act. I recently testified on behalf of ELPC urging the EPA to reduce methane emissions from the oil and gas sector by implementing a strong methane standard.

Read my full testimony

Here are some highlights from that testimony:

I urge EPA to adopt a standard that reduces methane emissions from the oil and gas sector to 65% below 2012 levels by 2025. This is a reasonable and necessary goal. Today my comments will specifically detail the impacts of climate change in the Midwest and on the Great Lakes.  A strong methane rule is key to emissions reductions that will minimize these impacts.

EPA must be a part of the solution and should implement a strong methane rule to mitigate some of the most catastrophic consequences of global climate change.

I have lived in the Midwest my whole life and am a proud citizen of the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians. Like many Midwesterners, my summers were spent on the Great Lakes fishing, swimming, and hiking in our dense and biodiverse forests. I now live in Chicago where I enjoy the Lake Michigan waterfront with people from all walks of life during our magnificent summer.

The Great Lakes and our environment are our most vital resource in the region. The lakes provide drinking water for over 40 million people and support an enormous agricultural, shipping, and tourist economy. The Great Lakes, the Gishi Gaamig in my native Anishinaabe language, are also important to the continued vitality of indigenous people that call the Midwest home. They are a source of food and water, a place where our communities can gather to pray and practice our traditional lifeways. I and the 68 million Americans who live in the Midwest love our homeland and want to keep living in thriving cities, enjoying our beautiful natural environment, and preserve our unique habitats for the coming seven generations.

The only way to do this is by deploying every tool that we have to slow the warming of our climate. EPA now has the opportunity to require the oil and gas industry to drastically reduce its methane emissions. EPA must act swiftly and aggressively. As EPA knows, methane is a greenhouse gas that is nearly 85% more potent than CO2 in the near term. While CO2 lasts longer in our atmosphere, methane emissions will set the pace of warming over the coming decades because of their potency. Methane emissions are now increasing faster than at any time since the 1980s. 

EPA must be a part of the solution. EPA should implement a strong methane rule to mitigate some of the most catastrophic consequences of global climate change. That rule should aim to reduce methane emissions from the oil and gas industry to 65% below 2012 levels by 2025.

*Public comments on EPA’s review of methane emissions standards are due July 30. Submit a comment here.

John Minode’e Petoskey,

Associate Attorney

John Petoskey is an associate attorney focusing on issues related to clean water, environmental justice and natural resources protection.

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