For Immediate Release, December, 3 2023
Bismarck, ND – On Saturday, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) unveiled its finalized rule aimed at reducing methane emissions from new and existing sources within the oil and gas industry. This rule is the result of a meticulous, multi-year process to augment the Clean Air Act, and plays a pivotal role in safeguarding public health and mitigating climate change by curbing methane emissions—one of the leading contributors to human-related warming.
Dakota Resource Council (DRC) proudly lauds this historic development, recognizing it as one of the most significant opportunities in recent years to combat waste methane, foster responsible energy development, and advance a cleaner and healthier North Dakota.
Scott Skokos, Executive Director of Dakota Resource Council, emphasized, “Today’s announcement of the EPA’s new standard to cut methane and other harmful pollutants from oil and gas operations is welcome news for protecting our health, our environment, and impacted communities in North Dakota. This final rule will reduce harmful emissions, limit wasted methane from leak-prone equipment, and mandate monitoring at all well sites along with the use of zero-emitting equipment.”
**Critical Impact on Fort Berthold Area:**
“Fort Berthold Reservation, where my family and I live, is where the most oil and gas waste and pollution occurs in North Dakota. Because of all this activity, my community faces disproportionate health impacts from the toxins in flared gas. EPA has taken an important step forward to reduce waste and pollution from oil and gas operations in North Dakota and begin to address routine flaring. Strong implementation and enforcement of the rule will be critically important to better protect impacted communities like mine because my state and my tribal government are not protecting us.”
Representative Lisa Finley-DeVille, ND(4a) co-founder Fort Berthold Protectors of Water and Earth Rights (POWER) and DRC board member
Delvin Rabbithead, Sr., President of Fort Berthold POWER, remarked, “President Biden and EPA Administrator Regan have taken bold action to cut methane waste and pollution from oil and gas production, including important steps to tackle routine flaring. Now the work begins to ensure strong implementation and enforcement to protect communities from the impacts of oil and gas extraction.”
Sherry Turner-Lonefight, MHA Tribal Business Councilwoman (West Segment), added, “EPA’s new rule has taken an important step to protect my tribe and other tribes impacted by oil and gas pollution. The rule will fill regulatory gaps that my community has not been able to address.”
EPA estimates that from 2024 to 2038, the standards will reduce methane from covered sources by 80%, resulting in significant emission reductions:
– Methane: 58 million tons (1.5 billion tons CO2e using a 100-year GWP and nearly 5 billion tons of CO2e on a 20-year basis—the near-term climate equivalent of taking nearly a billion cars off the road for a year)
– Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs): 16 million tons
– Hazardous Air Pollutants (Toxics): 590,000 tons
Dakota Resource Council calls for robust implementation and enforcement of these standards to ensure the sustained protection of our environment, public health, and the well-being of communities in North Dakota, particularly in the Fort Berthold area.