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EPA Methane Cut - New Regulations, and Resistance

JackSawyer MA, United States 0 Ratings 23 Discussions 0 Group posts

Posted by: JackSawyer // Student

The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) has recently finalized a new methane rule that will see heavy regulations implemented into the gas and oil sectors. Methane emissions, a greenhouse gas that traps heat 86 times more effectively than CO2, has been a byproduct of gas and oil operations, and subsequently, the EPA is targeting these sectors in order to reduce future methane leaks.

Currently about 30% of the United States methane emissions comes from oil and gas operations, and so, the new rule will attempt to address the operating flaws specifically. The EPA will monitor companies with quarterly audits on their natural gas compressors and also plans to include low production wells. The EPA believes these regulations, and other components to the new rule, will help reduce "emissions by 11 million tons per year of CO2 equivalent by 2025" (Page).

Although tougher regulations are what many people wanted in this finalized rule, natural gas companies are arguing that this rule actually undermines their industries' progression. U.S. "gas producers reduced emissions 15% since 1990 as production increased by more than 35%" (Snow). According to this view, these regulations would limit new technologies and techniques that in the past have allowed natural gas companies to increase their production while also reducing methane emissions. This argument raises many questions regarding government involvement versus market freedom.

What do you think of the new rule? Do you think it will be effective? Or limit perhaps even quicker progress from the natural gas industry?

Page, Samantha. "BREAKING: EPA Finalizes Methane Rule For New Oil And Gas Operations." ThinkProgress RSS. N.p., 12 May 2016. Web. 19 June 2016. http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2016/05/12/3777605/methane-rule-finalized/>.

Snow, Nick. "EPA Final Methane Emissions Rule Broadens Limits to Low-producing Wells." Oil & Gas Journal. N.p., 13 May 2016. Web. 19 June 2016. http://www.ogj.com/articles/2016/05/epa-final-methane-emissions-rule-broadens-limits-to-low-producing-wells.html>.

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