California Moves to Regulate Methane from Oil and Gas Operations
California has vaulted ahead of other U.S. jurisdictions working to regulate methane releases from oil and gas operations.
With the Environmental Protection Agency’s draft methane rules expected this summer, “the California Air Resources Board has just released a draft of the most comprehensive and forward thinking regulations to cut methane pollution from oil and gas yet,” the Environmental Defense Fund reported last Friday in a post on The Energy Collective.
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“While the April 22 proposal still needs work—such as in the area of how often equipment needs to be inspected and what to do with a portion of the tanks that hold oil and gas wastewater—it’s a big and fundamental step in the right direction,” EDF writes. “It has the potential to deliver what the rest of the country needs—comprehensive equipment standards on new and existing sources for both oil and gas operations, and enhanced leak detection and repair requirements across the methane value chain.”
CARB modelled a collection of seven methane reduction strategies and found they would save the equivalent of 500,000 tons of carbon pollution, while improving air quality in what EDF describes as “the state’s most overburdened air basins.”
The regulation won’t take effect until 2017, but “if California’s action stimulates action elsewhere, it can deliver outsized results much, much sooner and on a larger scale,” EDF writes.