Friday, July 24, 2015

EPA proposes voluntary methane emissions cuts for oil and gas industry

The Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday proposed a program "for oil and gas companies to make voluntary pledges to cut and track emissions of methane," Valerie Volcovici reports for Reuters. The move is part of the Obama administration's goal to cut methane emissions from oil and gas production by up to 45 percent by 2025 from the levels recorded in 2012.

"The Natural Gas STAR Methane Challenge Program would require companies to make specific reduction pledges and submit data each year, expanding on a program that has been in place since 1993 by offering more transparent tracking and let companies make less specific pledges," Volcovici writes.

"EPA is expected to propose regulations later this summer on methane emissions," Volcovici writes. "The American Petroleum Institute industry group, which has argued that regulations are unnecessary since methane emissions have fallen even as gas and oil drilling has risen, said it will work with the EPA to improve the proposed program."

Environmental groups, such as the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Clean Air Task Force, say voluntary measures don't go far enough, Volcovici writes. Conrad Schneider, advocacy director for the Clean Air Task Force, told her, "The standards must be legally enforceable, something that, by definition, voluntary programs are not." (Read more)

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