EPA Unveils New Rules To Cut Oil, Gas Methane Emissions
Oil and gas industry groups are calling the Obama administration’s final rule to cut methane emissions from US oil and gas production costly and unnecessary. They argue the industry already has made headway in reducing emissions through innovation and improvement in exploration and production methods.
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on 12 May said it is finalizing new regulations aimed at reducing methane, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and toxic air emissions from new, modified, and reconstructed sources in US oil and gas operations.
The final standards for new and modified sources are expected to reduce 510,000 short tons of methane in 2025, the equivalent of reducing 11 million metric tons of carbon dioxide, the EPA said in a 12 May press statement. They also are expected to reduce 210,000 short tons of ozone-forming VOCs in 2025, along with 3,900 tons of air toxins, such as benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylene. These emissions are associated with health issues such as asthma, suspected in causing cancer and other health problems, EPA said.
EPA estimates the final rule will yield climate benefits of USD 690 million in 2025, which will outweigh estimated costs of USD 530 million in 2025. EPA also expects benefits to be seen from reductions in VOCs and air toxics but could not quantify those benefits.