New Methane Standards Praised, Knocked

     (CN) – The Environmental Protection Agency released a lengthy proposed rule to reduce methane emissions from the oil and gas industry, as part of a national effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
     More than 60 percent of methane emissions worldwide come from industry, agriculture and other human activities. It is believed to be a major contributor to climate change and the greenhouse effect.
     The EPA estimates that nearly 30 percent of U.S. methane emissions come from oil and gas industries during production, storage and distribution.
     The proposed amendments to EPA emission standards include reductions in methane from fracking wells, natural gas pumps and controllers, among others.
     The 591-page rule would reduce methane emissions by 300,000 to 400,000 tons by 2020, the agency said.
     Environmental groups praised the action.
     “It’s good to see the federal government finally recognize methane as a dangerous climate pollutant,” said Erik Schlenker-Goodrich, executive director of the Western Environmental Law Center.
     “By reducing methane pollution from oil and gas development, this rule will help clean up our western skies, safeguard our climate, protect our communities, and plug the leakage each year of over $171 million of wasted natural gas in Colorado and New Mexico.”
     The oil and gas industry, predictably, opposed it. “Methane emissions in the United States present no human health or environmental threat,” the Heritage Foundation said, adding that the proposed standards would “drive up prices in the United States yet achieve no meaningful impact on global temperatures.”

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