Significant Majority of Battleground State Voters Support Strong EPA Safeguards to Cut Methane from Oil and Gas Operations
New Poll Finds 68% Support EPA Safeguards to Reduce Methane and Flaring Pollution from Oil and Gas Operations, it's Good Policy and Politics
(Washington, DC) – A new poll released today by EDF Action, Earthworks Action Fund, Sierra Club, and CATF Action finds that voters in battleground and key oil and gas producing states, like Pennsylvania, support the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) taking strong, swift action to limit methane pollution from the oil and gas industry.
The poll, conducted by Global Strategy Group, found more than two thirds of voters in key presidential battleground states (Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, North Carolina, Nevada, and Wisconsin with an oversample in Pennsylvania), support stronger limits on methane emissions, including regular inspections of leaks at oil and gas wells, monitoring large emissions events known as “super emitters,” and tougher equipment standards. In these same states, a majority of voters acknowledge that the climate crisis is a major problem, agree that the U.S. government should take strong action to combat climate change, and agree that we need stricter regulations to reduce air pollution from the oil and gas industry.
Key findings from the poll of battleground and key oil and gas-producing states include:
- 73 percent of voters support the EPA updating standards with stricter limits on air pollution.
- 68 percent of voters support the EPA’s proposal to place stronger limits on methane emissions from the oil and gas industry, including regular inspections of leaks at all oil and gas wells, tougher standards on equipment, eliminating emissions from routine flaring at oil wells, and monitoring of large emissions events know as “super-emitters.”
- Strong majorities agree that stronger methane limits will have a positive impact on air quality, health, climate change, future generations, and waste reduction.
- When forced to choose, a 55 percent to 41 percent majority of battleground voters agree that stronger methane limits will “create more jobs by encouraging innovation and investments in technology” rather than “destroying more jobs by increasing cost and making American oil and gas companies less competitive.”
- In Pennsylvania, both a battleground and key oil and gas producing state, 69 percent of voters support strong EPA safeguards to cut methane from oil and gas operations and 60 percent agree that the EPA should strengthen its proposal to eliminate emissions from routine flaring at oil and gas wells.
“The poll makes clear that battleground state voters support climate action - including stronger limits on methane emissions,” said pollster Andrew Baumann, Senior Vice President at Global Strategy Group. “Further, if candidates run on limiting methane pollution, the polling suggests they will gain support.”
“The results of this poll demonstrate that voters across the country, including in oil and gas producing states, support the Biden administration’s efforts to reduce the oil and gas industry’s methane pollution. The support for efforts to cut methane pollution is both strong and broad, including overwhelming support for EPA to go even further in eliminating pollution from routine flaring. There is no time to waste – each day that passes without strong safeguards in place puts communities, our planet, and health in harm’s way,” said Jon Goldstein, Senior Director, EDF Action.
“Methane pollution from the oil and gas industry is a serious and urgent threat. This poll makes clear that Americans want bold, decisive action by the administration to curb methane pollution that is worsening the climate crisis and harming public health. The EPA cannot miss this opportunity to protect our health and climate – they must finalize the strongest possible rule by the end of the summer,” said Mahyar Sorour, Director of Beyond Fossil Fuels Policy, Sierra Club.
“As the leading industrial emitter of methane, we need strong federal methane standards in place now to cut methane and other air pollution from oil and gas operations. Emissions from oil and gas facilities jeopardize the climate, the communities living near those facilities, and the health and safety of workers. The EPA has an opportunity – and an obligation – to deliver stronger methane standards that will also reduce other air pollution by the end of the summer. That’s what people across the country want and what our communities and planet deserve,” said Lindsey Griffith, Executive Director, CATF Action.
“The warning signs are clear. Right now, communities across the US and the world are experiencing dangerous heat records, floods and raging fires fueled by the climate crisis. The Biden administration and the EPA can make a meaningful difference in the lives of people on the frontlines of oil & gas extraction and our climate by strengthening and finalizing strong methane protections. As this poll shows, that is what Americans want and deserve,” said Lauren Pagel, Earthworks Action Fund.”
Background on the EPA methane rule
In November 2022, President Biden and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued an updated draft rule to cut methane and other harmful pollutants from oil and gas operations. The updated rule makes important improvements and builds on the original draft rule proposed in 2021, but must be further strengthened. In order to meaningfully address climate change, protect public health, and create new jobs, the final EPA methane rule must maintain the comprehensive leak detection and repair (LDAR) standards, ensure that operators at wells capture associated gas and eliminate pollution from routine flaring, maintain zero-emitting pneumatic equipment requirements, strengthen the standards to address emissions from storage tanks, provide a clear pathway for communities and individuals to participate and engage in the Super Emitter Response Program, and maintain the requirement that abandoned wells are subject to inspections until closure.