On August 1, the Environmental Protection Agency was sued by 15 states and the District of Columbia after their attempt to delay enforcement of Obama Administration ozone pollution standards.
Environmental groups also filed their own lawsuits against the EPA for trying to delay methane and ozone pollution regulations. In July, Green America joined dozens of environmental, health, indigenous, religious, and other organizations in testifying at the EPA against a proposed 2-year delay in implementing already-approved methane pollution standards.
Fran Teplitz, Co-Executive Director of Green America, participated on behalf of the Green Business Network, making the business case for moving forward immediately without any delay or weakening of the EPA’s methane pollution regulation standards. She stated:
“A growing number of business leaders have come to recognize that policies that support workers, communities, and natural eco-systems also best serve the long-term interests of our economy. We see time again that exploitation of the labor force or the environment, while potentially financially profitable for certain sectors in the short term, ultimately does not serve our national interests well over time. With methane regulation, policy makers need to take into account the serious consequences that will result if the already-approved methane standards are in any way delayed or weakened.”
Her testimony also made the following points concerning impacts on business: In terms of climate pollution, businesses—especially small business—will benefit from actions to mitigate climate change. Methane emissions have 80% times the heat-trapping capability of carbon dioxide, making it a major cause of the climate crisis. Regulation of methane can therefore make a significant difference to climate change mitigation efforts.
Among the many disruptions caused by climate change are its economic impacts, especially for small businesses that are far less capable of responding successfully than are large corporations. In the sectors of agriculture, landscaping, fishing, tourism, recreation, and others – the impacts of climate change are likely to be profound.
Between 2009 and 2015, oil and gas companies operating on public and Native American lands flared, vented, or otherwise lost enough natural gas to serve the needs of 6.2 million U.S. homes in one year, according to the US Department of the Interior. Reducing this gas pollution is essential to the health of people and the planet.
Green America members are speaking up. During the EPA’s public comment period on methane standards, more than 9,800 people (businesses and individuals) signed our letters to the EPA in support of immediate action to control methane pollution. Protecting human health and mitigating climate change should be priorities for any Administration.
Although we’ve seen victories such as the Trump Administration withdrawing its plan for the 1-year delay of ozone pollution regulation, the fight is not over. Under the Trump administration, we face an adversarial EPA head Scott Pruitt, who has many times cast doubt on the idea that climate change poses a threat to the United States.
Green America will continue to mobilize people in their economic roles—as consumers, investors, workers, and business leaders—to protect people and the planet.