Environmental Groups Crank Up Heat on Methane MandatesSource: Fuel Fix | 22 September 2014
Environmental groups pressured the Obama administration on 18 September to clamp down on methane leaking from the oil and gas sector by imposing new regulations targeting wells, valves, and other infrastructure.
Those mandates are urgently needed to keep that potent heat-trapping gas out of the atmosphere and are an “essential” ingredient in any plan to combat climate change, said the coalition of 16 environmental organizations in a letter to President Barack Obama. And they called on the Environmental Protection Agency to use its Clean Air Act authority to issue methane pollution standards for all new and existing oil and gas sources of the material.
“The environmental community is united in their view that the oil and gas industry must reduce their methane emissions and that federal regulation is essential to making this happen,” said Mark Brownstein, associate vice president of the Environmental Defense Fund’s US Climate and Energy Program, in a conference call with reporters. “This industry is simply too big, too diverse, and focused solely on profits and quarterly earnings to think that regulation is unneeded.”
The Obama administration is already working on several fronts to rein in methane, which is believed to be 28 to 34 times more potent than carbon dioxide when measured over a century. But so far, it has not formally decided to impose new regulations targeting the substance.