With the release of the report, Strategy to Reduce Methane Emissions, as part of the United States Climate Action Plan, the Administration has set the stage for curbing methane emissions, the second largest climate pollutant after carbon dioxide, from the nation’s largest source, the oil and gas industry.  

In the strategy, the Administration commits to:

  • EPA issuing a series of white papers looking at key sources of methane in the oil and gas sector (oil and gas co-producing wells, liquids unloading, leaks, pneumatic devices and compressors);
  • A determination by EPA this fall whether further regulation of oil and gas methane emissions is warranted with any regulations being completed by 2016;
  • BLM proposing a new rule to control the venting and flaring of gas in Federal oil and gas developments later this year.

“Clean Air Task Force believes that today’s action is a good initial step on the road towards fully regulating methane emissions from the oil and gas industry,” said Schneider.  “The Administration has laid out a process for EPA to review the facts and we are confident that EPA will find overwhelming evidence in favor of issuing strong regulations directly regulating methane from the Oil and Gas industry.  Furthermore, reducing methane by requiring industry to stop the leaks is a “win-win-win-win” that saves fuel, reduces greenhouse gas emissions, improves air quality, and helps ensure pipeline safety,” Schneider added.

In June 2013, President Obama set out an ambitious strategy for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the United States, and is already making significant strides to achieve the goal of a 17% reduction of GHGs by 2020.  The Administration has already taken action to cut GHG emissions from autos and trucks and has committed to action on new and existing power plants.  However, the U.S. will certainly not reach this target without direct regulation of methane, so Clean Air Task Force calls on the Administration to follow today’s methane strategy to its logical end: regulations that require commonsense reductions.

“Ultimately, the test of today’s strategy will be whether the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) issue regulations that directly regulate and reduce methane emissions,” Schneider said.

For additional information on CATF’s take on the methane strategy, please see our blog at www.catf.us/blogs/ahead/.