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Ohio moves to regulate gas industry emissions

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Hydrocarbon Engineering,

The administration of Ohio Gov. John Kasich has announced plans to reduce air pollution from oil and gas operations in the state. Ohio plans to issue permits for new and modified equipment at compressor stations – facilities that pressurise gas before moving it through pipelines – requiring companies to check for leaks on a quarterly basis and quickly fix the leaks they find.

The new permits build on the state’s existing clean air protections by targeting not only the emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), but also emissions of methane.

“We applaud Governor Kasich for, once again, stepping forward to deliver clean air protections that Ohio communities deserve and joining other leading states in regulating harmful methane emissions,” said Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) President Fred Krupp. “Today’s announcement underscores that fast growing recognition that, for natural gas to meet its promise as a lower carbon fuel, methane emissions can’t go unchecked.”

The plan follows a similar policy the Ohio EPA put in place in 2014 that sets a baseline of quarterly leak detection practices at oil and gas production facilities, and adds to the growing list of states tackling methane emissions. The US Environmental Protection Agency announced that the natural gas gathering sector – the section of the supply chain that includes compressor stations – may be emitting as much as 1.7 million metric t of methane.

“Requiring operators to systematically check equipment for leaks is a proven, cost-effective way to reduce harmful emissions and associated risks to public health and the environment,” said Andrew Williams, Senior State Regulatory and Legislative Affairs Manager. “We commend the administration for taking this important step and look forward to working with OEPA and other stakeholders to strengthen the proposal.”

Adapted from press release by Rosalie Starling

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