Wednesday, January 14, 2015

President Obama to use executive authority to impose regulations on methane emissions

The White House officials on Wednesday announced that President Obama plans to use executive authority to impose new regulations on the oil and gas industry’s emissions of methane, Coral Davenport reports for The New York Times. "The administration’s goal is to cut methane emissions from oil and gas production by up to 45 percent by 2025 from the levels recorded in 2012."

The Environmental Protection Agency said it will issue the proposed regulations later this year and release final regulations in 2016, Davenport writes. "Methane, which leaks from oil and gas wells, accounts for just 9 percent of the nation’s greenhouse gas pollution—but it is over 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide, so even small amounts of it can have a big impact on global warming."

David Doniger, director of the climate and clean air program at the Natural Resources Defense Council, an advocacy group, told Davenport, “This is the biggest opportunity to curb climate change pollution that they haven’t already seized.

Oil and gas industry officials said current standards are sufficient to prevent methane leaks and new rules would only hurt a booming industry, Davenport writes. Howard Feldman, director of regulatory affairs for the American Petroleum Institute, told her, “We don’t need regulation to capture it because we are incentivized to do it." (Read more)

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