Unions, greens press Obama to propose methane regs

A national organization representing 10 labor unions and five environmental groups is pressing President Obama to propose national standards for methane emissions from industrial sources.

In a letter sent to Obama on Friday, the BlueGreen Alliance tells the president that reducing methane emissions "needs to a be a key part" of his climate agenda.

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"The BlueGreen Alliance supports the move toward a national set of standards to directly regulate methane emissions from the oil and gas industry," the letter states.

"Methane standards could contribute substantially to meeting the administration’s target of reducing the nation’s global warming pollution 17 percent by 2020, with even greater reductions post-2020," it adds.

Kim Glas, executive director of BlueGreen Alliance, said federal regulations on methane emissions could create jobs across the country in a joint statement with the letter.

"Methane is a potent source of emissions, and taking steps to reduce emissions is a substantial opportunity to put American workers squarely at the forefront of developing, manufacturing, and implementing these technologies—providing high-quality jobs and stimulating local economies,” Glas said.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is currently weighing whether to propose rules for methane emissions from oil and gas operations.

Methane is the prime component in natural gas and accounts for the majority of emissions from operations. It is also a far more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.

The EPA will decide this fall if it will propose standards, which will likely be heavily scrutinized by businesses and Republicans, who argue the president's agenda will eliminate energy jobs.