Wednesday, November 10, 2010

EPA issues emissions rules for oil and gas industry

On Tuesday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued its final rules requiring oil and gas facilities and some electronic manufacturing plants to monitor greenhouse gas emissions. "The new regulations will add those industries to EPA's Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program, which kicked off at the beginning of this year," Gabriel Nelson of Greenwire reports for The New York Times. "Companies are not required to achieve any emissions reductions through the program, but they must produce annual emissions reports that are intended to inform the public and guide policymakers in the quest to address global warming."

"Industry groups such as the American Petroleum Institute have criticized the new rules, saying EPA has underestimated the cost of compliance," Nelson writes. "Because many oil and gas producers rely on smaller facilities in remote areas, the industry will have a harder time complying than other sectors, some of the nation's largest energy companies argued during meetings with White House economists this fall." The oil and gas industry was the last high-profile sector not addressed when EPA issues reporting requirements last year. Petroleum facilities are estimated to contribute about 2 to 3 percent of the nation's greenhouse gases.

"For far too long the public has been kept in the dark about the large volumes of pollution released from facilities in the oil and gas sector," said Emma Cheuse, an attorney at Earthjustice. "EPA's action will strengthen public accountability for this major source of global warming pollution." EPA estimated the cost to the industry would be $62 million for the first year and $19 million for following years or about $22,000 per facility next year. Industry officials said some companies would need to spend between $100,000 and $850,000 on data management software. (Read more)

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