ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - New York and six other states plan to sue the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency over methane emissions from oil and gas drilling.
Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman claims in a news release Tuesday that the EPA is violating the Clean Air Act by failing to address the emissions. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas. Other major sources come from landfills and livestock.
Howard Feldman, a spokesman for the American Petroleum Institute, says the lawsuit "makes no sense" since the EPA has already passed rules on methane emissions.
Federal climate researchers say they haven't yet seen signs that increased drilling is affecting global methane levels, but they're worried about the threat.
Schneiderman along with the six other states say they just don't get it, as to why the EPA did not address methane gas emissions in its Clean Air Act. In a report the EPA stated that methane emissions are a threat to public because the greenhouse gas causes climate change.
"Climate change is the most significant environmental hazard we face on the planet today and we need the Environmental Protection Agency to deal with all of the factors that are changing our weather,"said Schneiderman.
Executive Director of Environmental Advocates of NY says the lack of regulation of the greenhouse gas is a gap in protection the EPA needs to fix immediately.
"It's a bigger contributing factor to a warming climate than CO2 is," said Moore.
The impact potential regulations could have on the natural gas industry are unclear.
"It does complicate matters if you're working for the oil and gas industry not just in NY this is something that'd going to be nationwide," said Moore.
In a statement about the coalitions threat to sue the agency says"We will review and respond."
The coalition of states is giving the EPA 60 days to make the change or the lawsuit will be filed.