Last week the EPA proposed new rules to reduce methane emissions from oil and natural gas sites by preventing leaks and capturing lost gas. Benefits to the environment and human health are estimated up to $550 million, which outweighs the projected cost to industry of $320 to $420 million by 2025.
Methane is a greenhouse gas far more potent than carbon dioxide in contributing to climate change, and methane emissions from drilling sites make up almost 30 percent of U.S. methane emissions. The proposal is a big step towards the Administration’s goal of cutting methane emissions by 40 to 45 percent from 2012 levels over the next decade, which also includes a previous EPA proposal to reduce methane in landfills and a BLM proposal related to methane on public lands.
The proposed rule will now enter the public comment period and will likely not be finalized for at least a year. We have included additional resources below for more information on methane reduction in the oil and gas industry.
- EPA Fact Sheet on New Methane Rules: http://www.epa.gov/airquality/oilandgas/pdfs/og_fs_081815.pdf
- NCEL Website on Hydraulic Fracturing: http://ncelfracking.org
- Center for American Progress Outline of the New Methane Rule: https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/green/news/2015/08/25/119922/the-epas-newest-methane-emissions-rule-is-a-crucial-step-for-climate-action/
- World Resources Institute Report: Strategies for State-Level Policymakers for Reducing Methane Emissions: http://www.wri.org/publication/reducing-methane-emissions-natural-gas-development-strategies-state-level-policymakers