In an attempt to cut methane emissions from the oil and natural gas industry, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed greenhouse gas and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) regulations for the sector today.
The regulations are part of the agency's attempt to reduce the industry's emissions by 40 to 45 percent from 2012 levels by 2025.
“Today, through our cost-effective proposed standards, we are underscoring our commitment to reducing the pollution fueling climate change and protecting public health while supporting responsible energy development, transparency and accountability,” EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said. “Cleaner-burning energy sources like natural gas are key compliance options for our Clean Power Plan, and we are committed to ensuring safe and responsible production that supports a robust clean energy economy.”
The proposed regulation includes industry requirements such as finding and repairing leaks, capturing natural gas from hydraulically fractured oil wells, and limiting emissions from equipment such as that used at transmission compressor stations, as well as new and modified pneumatic pumps. This builds upon the agency’s already established Methane Challenge Program.
Through these standards, the EPA expects the country will save $120 million to $150 million in climate benefits in 2025 and see a reduction of 340,000 tons of methane, which equates to 7.7 million tons of carbon dioxide. The regulation also will reduce VOC emissions by at least 170,000 that year and at least 1,900 tons of air toxics.