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EPA issues Final Regulation to Limit Methane Emissions in the Oil and Gas Sector

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued its final regulation aimed at reducing methane emissions in the oil and gas sector. Released on May 12, the final regulation is yet another step taken under President Obama’s Climate Action Plan. One-third of methane emissions come from the oil and gas industry, and this final regulation will work to cut methane emissions from these sectors by 40 to 45 percent from 2012 levels by 2025.

EPA’s new rule regulates methane emissions from new and modified oil and gas sources. The final rule is stronger than the proposal that was released last year. EPA received 900,000 comments from industry officials, members of the public and green groups on the rule. League supporters sent nearly 7,500 comments in support of the rule.

Limiting methane emissions is a critical step forward in the fight against climate change. By reducing methane emissions, President Obama is maintaining the commitment announced alongside Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau earlier this spring. It also supports the US decision to sign the historic agreement made at the United Nation’s Conference in Paris last fall.

The US is the largest producer of natural gas in the world. Our reliance on natural gas makes regulating methane necessary as its impact on climate change is 25 times greater that of carbon dioxide. The new regulation provides a flexible way for industry officials to help reduce leaks, which will helps increase production, while protecting public health and fighting climate change.

The League supported the original proposal of this regulation while also urging the Administration to go further and implement emissions reductions for existing sources as well. As part of the announcement, EPA is seeking to gather information from industry officials and facilities about the technology they are already using to stop leaks and increase production so that they can set common sense, flexible regulations for existing sources.

The League is proud of the Administration’s commitment to putting people before polluters. Curbing methane is a “win-win-win-win” that can save fuel, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve air quality, and protect public health.