Friday, May 13, 2016

EPA Begins Crackdown on Methane Emissions

Environmental Protection Agency chief Gina McCarthy has long said the agency would tackle methane emissions from oil and gas production. (Credit: Getty Images) Click to Enlarge.
The Environmental Protection Agency announced new rules on Thursday to significantly reduce methane emissions from new oil and gas facilities as well as those undergoing modifications.  The regulations are the first federal standards aimed at curbing methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, emitted by oil and gas production.

The rules, which were first proposed last year, will require oil and gas companies to monitor and limit the release of methane into the atmosphere at production, processing and transmission facilities.  The new standards are part of an Obama administration goal to reduce methane emissions from the industry by 40-45 percent by 2025.

"Today, we are underscoring the Administration's commitment to finding common sense ways to cut methane—a potent greenhouse gas fueling climate change—and other harmful pollution from the oil and gas sector," EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said in a statement.  "Together these new actions will protect public health and reduce pollution linked to cancer and other serious health effects while allowing industry to continue to grow and provide a vital source of energy for Americans across the country."

Reducing emissions of methane, the primary component of natural gas, is key to combatting climate change.  Methane is 86 times more potent than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas over a 20-year period, and 34 times more powerful over 100 years.  The new standards would also cut associated pollution including volatile organic compounds like benzene, which is a carcinogen.

Read more at EPA Begins Crackdown on Methane Emissions

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