Methane Project News

In an effort to address one of Utah’s most pressing environmental challenges, the Mormon Environmental Stewardship Alliance has placed a significant focus on mitigating methane emissions, a potent contributor to global warming. Elder Steven E. Snow, speaking on environmental stewardship, emphasizes, “That stewardship has never been more urgent. Our generation, more than any other, has the ability to irretrievably change the land.” Pivotal announcements by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in environmental policy underscore the urgent need for action. The following are updates on this crucial initiative.


EPA Methane Rule: December

On December 2, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a landmark rule to significantly reduce methane emissions and other pollutants from the oil and natural gas industry. This regulation is not just a national milestone; it’s particularly crucial for Utah, given our unique environmental challenges and commitment to combating climate change.

Impact: This rule is set to significantly reduce methane emissions, aiming to prevent about 58 million tons from being released from 2024 to 2038.

Solutions: The rule brings in cost-effective technologies to reduce emissions. This means using the latest innovations to tackle pollution.

Communities: This isn’t just about methane. The rule also cuts down on smog and other harmful air pollutants that can affect our health. This means cleaner air to breathe, particularly for communities that have been dealing with pollution for too long.

MESA’s Board Treasurer, Soren Simonsen, praised the EPA’s decision in a statement, highlighting the importance of protecting our atmosphere and ensuring air quality through wise resource use and strong protections.

“The EPA has taken an important action to live up to their public responsibility to address oil and gas pollution with its final methane rule. There is nothing more fundamental to life than safeguarding our atmosphere and the air we breathe. This means caring for our environment and for each other through strong and reasonable protections, using our natural resources with wisdom and prudence, and without unnecessary and harmful waste. The rule includes important provisions such as inspections at small wells with leak-prone equipment, advancing technology monitoring, requiring inspections at abandoned wells, and it begins to address routine flaring. Utah’s Uintah Basin has some of the worst methane pollution in the nation, and we look forward to working with the Utah’s air quality leaders to reduce the impacts of oil and gas waste and pollution, improve the health and wellbeing of individuals and families, and secure a cleaner energy future.”

The improvements in methane emissions will have a positive impact on Utahn’s health, as well as Americans nationwide. We applaud the EPA for this monumental decision, and hope for continuing support for greenhouse gas emission reduction.


EPA Waste Emissions Charge: January – March

The Inflation Reduction Act marks a pivotal moment in environmental policy through the introduction of measures under the Clean Air Act, notably the Waste Emissions Charge (WEC) on methane emissions from the oil and gas industry. This bold initiative, released by the Biden-Harris Administration on January 12, 2024, specifically targets facilities emitting over 25,000 metric tons of CO2 equivalent annually. By setting a charge that starts at $900 per metric ton for 2024 emissions and rises to $1,500 by 2026, the government incentivizes the reduction of emissions and innovation and compliance through calculation procedures and exemptions. The EPA collected public comments until March 26.

MESA wholeheartedly supports this significant stride toward environmental sustainability and issued the following statement:

“The Mormon Environmental Stewardship Alliance is a faith-based organization working to improve our collective environmental stewardship and conservation efforts as a society. We share a common belief and value with many faith traditions to “replenish the earth” (see Genesis 1:28) and are guided by leaders of our faith who teach us that, “As beneficiaries of the divine creation, what shall we do? We should care for the earth, be wise stewards over it, and preserve it for future generations. And we are to love and care for one another.” (President Russell M. Nelson, The Creation, April 2000).

Caring for the earth is an important part of caring for each other, and for all life. When the earth thrives, we thrive as well. In the Uintah Basin of Eastern Utah, we experience some of the most harmful impacts from methane emissions in our nation (see Deseret News, December 5, 2021) — resulting both from the large volume of oil and gas production, and the unique geography of Utah’s valleys that trap and concentrate harmful emissions from these industries. We applaud the efforts of the Environmental Protection Agency to reduce harmful methane emissions, to address very real and acute public health risks in the localities where these extractive industries operate, and tackle the clear and present dangers of our global climate change crisis.

Utah’s community businesses have proven over and over again to be leaders of innovation, and many industries here are already working to reduce methane emissions and other pollutants from extractive oil and gas industries. We celebrate the many companies that recognize their responsibility toward the health and wellbeing of their employees and the general population, and who are creating strong and robust models of business operations that are not mutually exclusive from preserving our air, land and water from wasteful practices and harmful impacts. 

But for some who are not yet there, the push toward compliance through the Waste Emissions Charge is a necessary tool to safeguard public health and a healthier environment. 

Thank you for considering our message. We urge the adoption and implementation of the Waste Emissions Charge for Petroleum & Natural Gas Systems as soon as possible.”


EPA Technical Assistance & Funding: February

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Energy (DOE) have announced plans to significantly invest in reducing methane emissions from the oil and gas sectors. This initiative, supported by funding from the Inflation Reduction Act, represents a pivotal moment in our nation’s commitment to combating climate change and resonates deeply with MESA’s advocacy for responsible environmental stewardship and our campaign against methane pollution.

The Methane Emissions Reduction Program aims to implement innovative technologies and strategies to monitor and cut methane emissions, marking a significant step forward in achieving cleaner air and a healthier planet. It focuses on three main areas: mitigating emissions from existing wells, accelerating the adoption of methane reduction solutions, and characterizing methane emissions across large geographical areas. Importantly, the program is designed to benefit all, in line with the Justice40 Initiative, ensuring that disadvantaged communities receive a significant share of the benefits from these federal climate investments. Learn more about this initiative here.

What Can You Do?


On March 13, 2024, MESA hosted an opinion writing workshop for participants who desire to amplify their voices for environmental advocacy. The workshop was inspired by a letter from the First Presidency, urging members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to engage in civic affairs with Christlike love and civility. In alignment with this guidance, the workshop aimed to empower participants to use well-articulated opinions to influence public discourse and policy decisions positively.

As we navigate through these transformative policies, the importance of collective action and advocacy cannot be overstated. As Bishop Caussé taught us in the October 2022 General Conference, “Beyond being simply a scientific or political necessity, the care of the earth and of our natural environment is a sacred responsibility entrusted to us by God, which should fill us with a deep sense of duty and humility.” As environmental stewards, we support the efforts to move toward a greater reverence and care for our Earth.

But what more can we do to protect our air and climate from methane?

Following the EPA’s announcements, the responsibility now falls to individual states, including Utah, to develop plans to enforce these new standards. Public input is vital in shaping these state-level strategies, providing an opportunity for your voice to make a meaningful impact. By advocating for robust implementation of the methane rule in Utah, you can help ensure that the benefits of this regulation are fully realized in our state. Public advocacy through social media, letters to the editors, or Op Eds is about sparking change and raising awareness. These outlets can get wide attention, reaching not only the general public but also those who make and influence policies. In the wake of these new EPA regulations, your advocacy can play a pivotal role in ensuring the rule is not only recognized but also effectively implemented.

Share your Support: Write about why the EPA’s methane rule is a vital step for our environment. Highlight its significance in the fight against climate change and how it benefits us all.

Share Personal Stories: Your personal stories can powerfully illustrate how air quality and environmental changes affect individuals and communities. Share these experiences to make your letter relatable and impactful.

Call for Action: Encourage readers and decision-makers to stand behind this rule. Your voice can encourage enforcement and inspire further actions toward environmental protection.

It is imperative that we, as a community committed to sustainability and conservation, lend our voices in support of these changes. We want to help you. Contact us at and we can get you started.