Editor's Note: Environmental groups applaud a new proposal that could reduce unnecessary climate-changing pollution from the oil and gas industry. This news release from Earthjustice gives pause to what EPA’s next steps will be with regard to livestock production.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has introduced another key element of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan by proposing first-ever protections to curb methane pollution from the oil and gas industry. The proposed Methane Pollution Standard offers sensible, cost-effective solutions to limit methane and toxic air pollution from rapidly escalating oil and gas development that is driving climate change and jeopardizing people’s health.

According to Earthjustice, the oil and gas industry is wasting millions of tons of methane gas and leaking toxic chemicals into the air as it drills and transports oil and gas. The proposed standard begins to address this critical problem by targeting pollution from new sources, and lays the groundwork for essential regulation of existing sources.

Earthjustice has helped lead the legal charge that prompted this proposal. In appreciation of the proposed safeguard Earthjustice released this statement from Abigail Dillen, our Vice President of Litigation for Climate and Energy:

“We applaud President Obama and EPA for proposing critically needed safeguards to curb climate-changing methane pollution. There is no graver challenge facing us than climate change, but we can solve a big piece of the problem right now — by reducing methane emissions from the oil and gas industry.

“By plugging methane leaks and stopping the outrageously wasteful practice of venting and flaring gas, we also help protect our families from hazardous air pollution as the nation’s oil and gas patches encroach further and faster into our communities. At the same time, oil and gas companies can actually save money by capturing and selling methane that they are needlessly emitting today.

“EPA is taking a critical step in proposing limits on methane pollution from new oil and gas development. Cutting pollution from the massive web of existing oil and gas development is the essential next step that urgently demands EPA’s attention.

“Strong protections against new and existing sources of methane pollution in the oil and gas sector are necessary to achieve the President’s goal of reducing methane emissions by 40 to 45 percent over the next decade. Earthjustice will continue working to ensure that we meet and exceed that key benchmark.”