Existing sources ignored in US methane proposal

On 14 January the Obama Administration announced a new goal to cut methane emissions from the oil and gas sector by 40–45 per cent from 2012 levels by 2025. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will set standards for emissions of methane and volatile organic compounds from new and modified oil and gas production sources, and natural gas processing and transmission sources, but not for existing sources of emissions. EPA intends to issue a proposed rule in the summer of 2015, and a final rule will follow in 2016.

Environmental groups have criticized the plan, pointing out that the proposed rules would cover only new sources, but omit hundreds of thousands of existing oil and gas wells and other operations that are emitting methane right now. The Clean Air Act allows for the regulation of existing sources, and it is estimated that almost 90 per cent of projected 2018 emissions will come from existing sources.

Source: Environmental News Service, 14 January 2015

In this issue