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EDF: EPA’s oil and gas methane limits are crucial

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Hydrocarbon Engineering,

On 12 May, the US Environmental Protection Agency finalised clean air standards limiting emissions of methane from new and heavily modified sources in the oil and gas industry. According to the agency’s national emissions inventory, oil and gas companies currently release at least 9.8 million tpy of methane into the air (34% more than previous estimates).

The announcement is the latest in an ongoing series of important steps by the Obama administration aimed at reducing oil and gas methane emissions by 40 - 45% by 2025.

The new EPA standards build from policies and practices in the states and private sector including clean air solutions being deployed in Colorado, Wyoming and Ohio. Importantly, the new emission standards provide for national solutions to address emissions leaking from newly constructed or rebuilt oil and gas industrial activity. However, the standards do not provide for limits on the leaks and emissions from existing oil and gas infrastructure, the single largest source of methane in the air.

“Cutting this pollution is the fastest, cheapest path to slow the warming we will otherwise see in the next 20 years,” said EDF President Fred Krupp. “A vast body of science has revealed the scale of the problem, and proven we can keep that escaping gas in the pipes at minimal cost. Some companies are already setting a great example of what can be achieved using common sense solutions to find and fix leaks.”

“We need common sense standards to make ‘best practice’ the standard practice,” Krupp continued. “And we need to build on today’s announcement by extending these same level headed standards to thousands of existing facilities that are still exempt despite generating millions of tons of methane pollution a year.”

Adapted from press release by Rosalie Starling

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