Two-Thirds of Texas Voters Support Strong EPA Safeguards to Cut Methane from Oil and Gas Operations
New Poll Finds Supporting EPA Safeguards to Reduce Methane Pollution and Flaring Pollution from Oil and Gas Operations in Texas; it's Good Policy and Politics
(Austin, TX) – A new poll released yesterday by EDF Action, Earthworks Action Fund, Sierra Club, and CATF Action finds that voters in Texas, a top U.S. oil and gas producing state, want the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to take swift action to limit methane emissions driven by oil and gas projects, including taking action to eliminate pollution from routine flaring.
Among Texas voters, a majority support stronger limits on methane emissions, acknowledge that climate change is a major problem, agree that the EPA should take strong action to combat climate change, and agree that we need more protective regulations to reduce air pollution from the oil and gas industry.
Key findings from this poll include:
- 72% of voters in Texas support the EPA updating standards with stricter limits on air pollution.
- 66% of voters in Texas 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.”
- A 58% to 33% majority of voters in Texas agree the EPA should strengthen its proposal to eliminate emissions from routine flaring at oil wells — a major issue in Texas’ Permian Basin.
- Voters in Texas think that if the EPA were to set stronger limits on methane emissions, it would have a positive impact on climate change (55%), the quality of the air we breathe (62%), the health of our families (57%), and reducing waste from the oil and gas industry (58%).
- When forced to choose, a 58% to 42% majority of Texas 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.”
“Everything is bigger in Texas, including support for commonsense efforts to cut methane pollution and energy waste from our oil and gas industry. This poll demonstrates that voters in Texas overwhelmingly want strong EPA safeguards to eliminate emissions from flaring to protect their health and the planet,” said Elizabeth Lieberknecht, Regulatory and Legislative Manager, Midcontinent, EDF Action.
“Two-thirds of Texas voters support the EPA’s proposal to place tighter limits on methane emissions from the oil and gas industry, including eliminating emissions from routine flaring at oil wells. We know that our state agencies charged with protecting the public - the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and the Texas Railroad Commission - have failed to put in common sense rules to lower emissions and routinely allow flaring to occur all over Texas. There is no question that Texans want clean air; EPA needs to step up and finalize a rule that limits methane emissions, including emissions from routine flaring, by the end of the summer,” said Cyrus Reed, Conservation Director at the Sierra Club’s Lone Star Chapter.
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.