New U.S. Methane Rules Exclude Existing Oil and Gas Wells
The United States would reduce methane emissions from some oil and gas wells by 40-45% from 2012 levels by 2025 under a plan announced Wednesday by the Obama Administration.
Working closely with states and industry, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency “will be taking a series of steps to set emissions standards for new and modified gas wells,” Climate Progress reports. “Existing wells will not be included in the regulations, but there is hope that industry efforts will be significant in the area.”
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The U.S. is the world’s largest natural gas producer, and methane is the primary component of natural gas. “According to the White House, methane has 25 times more heat-trapping potential than carbon dioxide over a 100-year period,” Phillips writes. “The IPCC has a higher measurement, putting it at 34 times more.”
Fred Krupp, president of the Environmental Defense Fund, declared the announcement a “landmark moment.” But InsideClimate News cites Conrad Schneider, advocacy director for the Boston-based Clean Air Task Force, warning that the regulation would miss 90% of the problem by focusing only on new emissions.
“The Administration is proposing to fight methane pollution with one hand tied behind its back, not using the full range of powers under the Clean Air Act to cut these emissions,” he said.