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EPA: Tougher Methane Emissions Approved

by Elizabeth Alford on May 16, 2016

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has approved new, tougher standards for methane emissions.

Related: New Ruling to Slash Methane Emissions

Last summer, President Obama revealed a plan designed to cut greenhouse gas emissions 40 – 45 percent by 2025. It has taken almost a year, but last week the EPA finalized the new rule that sets standards for methane leaks along the natural gas production line.

The new standards are stronger than those proposed last summer and look to reduce 520,000 short tons of methane in 2025 instead of 400,000 in the original proposal. This is equivalent of 11 million metric tons of carbon dioxide.

Gina McCarthy for the EPA told the NY Times“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.” 

Industry leaders are critical of the ruling say they it is unnecessary and too costly. Oil and gas producers are critically fatigued from months of low crude prices and this new regulation will certainly not be sustainable for some. The EPA estimates that the ruling might cost the industry somewhere between $420 – $530 million.

“Even with the significant rise in oil and natural gas production in recent years, methane emissions have fallen thanks to ongoing innovation and improvements in exploration and production methods,” said Ed Longanecker, president of the Texas Independent Producers and Royalty Owners Association. “The rapid deployment of hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling technologies is a key reason for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. Further, between 2006 and 2014, 61.4 percent of carbon dioxide emissions reductions in the U.S. electric power sector came from fuel shifting toward natural gas.”

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