According to new reporting by E&E, a new study found the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) measurement of methane emissions is significantly lower than what is actually emitted. Underestimating the amount of methane released into the atmosphere by oil and gas companies is profoundly harmful to the environment — methane is responsible for a quarter of all man-made climate change. 

The American Petroleum Institute (API) has spent years opposing efforts to regulate methane. During the Obama administration, the group called regulatory efforts “unnecessary.” Later, API supported the Trump administration’s rollback of regulations targeting methane emissions. While Big Oil’s chief advocacy organization now claims to support “the direct federal regulation of methane,” API’s preferred voluntary reporting program is so weak a Chevron manager said the approach was “setting a lower bar.” Companies with a seat on API’s board have been assessed billions in penalties for environmental violations. 

“API has spent years fighting efforts to curb methane emissions so they can keep lining its pockets while the rest of us pay the price,” said Kyle Herrig president of Accountable.US. “The EPA is grossly underestimating how much of this climate harming gas is released into the atmosphere and President Biden is right to demand a review. Make no mistake, API has demonstrated through its advocacy and approach to voluntary reporting that it cannot be trusted to address the climate crisis no matter its rhetoric.”  

President Biden recently signed an executive order directing the EPA to review Trump-era rules, specifying the need for additional standards for controlling methane. 

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