EPA Proposes New Rules to Cut Methane Emissions

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) this week announced new rules to cut emissions of greenhouse gases and volatile organic compounds from the oil and natural gas industry. This proposal continues the White House’s efforts to combat climate change and protect the public’s health, and is part of the Climate Action Plan strategy to cut methane emissions from the oil and gas industry by 40 to 45 percent of 2012 levels by 2025.

Methane, the second most prevalent greenhouse gas on earth, is 25 times more powerful than carbon dioxide in trapping heat—and as such, is a major contributor to climate change. Nearly 30% of methane emissions come from oil production, and the production, transmission, and distribution of natural gas.

The proposed standards will complement voluntary efforts, including EPA’s Methane Challenge Program, and are based on practices and technology currently used by industry. The proposal requires industry to:

  • Find and repair leaks;
  • Capture natural gas from the completion of hydraulic fractured oil wells;
  • Limit emissions from new and modified pnuematic pumps; and
  • Limit emissions from equipment used at natural gas transmission compressor stations.

EPA is accepting public comment on the proposal for 60 days after publication in the Federal Register.

Visit EPA’s website for more information and technical fact sheets.

About Katie Regan

Katie Regan serves as the Communications Specialist for Environmental Health, Pandemic Preparedness, and Catastrophic Response at NACCHO. Her work includes promoting local health departments' best practices through NACCHO's various storytelling and communications channels. Twitter: @katiejregan

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