March 10, 2016

Whitehouse Cheers U.S.-Canada Methane Accord

Washington, DC – Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) heralded the announcement today of a joint agreement between the United States and Canada to reduce methane emissions from the American and Canadian oil and gas industries by at least 40 percent below 2012 levels by 2025 and to protect the Artic.  To achieve the emission targets the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has agreed to regulate existing sources of methane from the oil and gas sector.  Whitehouse released the following statement on the agreement:

“Congratulations to the Obama Administration and their Canadian counterparts on this much needed agreement to limit emissions of a potent greenhouse gas from its most common source.  Methane is more than 30 times more powerful in trapping heat in our atmosphere than carbon, and oil and gas production accounts for a majority of the methane emissions in our two countries.  This is major victory for the health and wellbeing of Americans, Canadians, and people around the world.

“With the historic Paris Agreement in hand, this is further evidence of the momentum building behind global efforts to limit greenhouse gas emissions.  I’m grateful to President Obama for his continued willingness to partner with other major emitting countries to lead the way in addressing this global threat.”

Whitehouse has a long record of advocating for action to limit methane emissions related to oil and gas extraction.  In January, Whitehouse, Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI) and 19 other Senators called on EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy to regulate methane from existing oil and gas sources.  Whitehouse and his colleagues cited “studies that have shown that almost 90 percent of projected emissions in 2018 will come from oil production and existing natural gas production” and noted that current policies will not allow the Administration to achieve its stated goals for reducing methane emissions 26-28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025.  Whitehouse has written to the Obama Administration seeking to “ensure that EPA exercises its authority expeditiously to control methane pollution and its harmful effects.”  Whitehouse has also drafted recommendations to the Administration for limiting methane emissions from oil production on federal lands and the outer continental shelf.


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