EPA proposes weaker methane rules for oil and gas wells.

September 26, 2018

On September 11, 2018 The Trump administration proposed weakening requirements for testing and repairing methane leaks in drilling operations in a step toward rolling back an Obama-era policy to combat climate change according to a Reuters report.

In its news release The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said the changes will save the industry $75 million a year in regulatory costs between 2019 and 2025.

Methane, the primary component of natural gas, leaks from oil and gas wells during drilling. It accounts for 10 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions and has more than 80 times the heat-trapping potential of carbon dioxide in the first 20 years after it escapes into the atmosphere. The oil and gas sector is the largest single source of U.S. methane emissions, according to EPA data.

Last year, EPA delayed implementing the Obama-era rule limiting methane gas emissions from oil and gas operations on federal and tribal lands.

Under the new proposal methane gas emissions will increase by a total 380,000 short tons between 2019 and 2025 compared with the EPA’s 2018 baseline estimate. Obama’s updates to the EPA’s New Source Performance Standards envisioned preventing emissions of 300,000 short tons of methane in 2020, rising to preventing 510,000 short tons of methane emissions in 2025.

The proposal is subject to public comments for 60 days, including a public hearing to be held in Denver, EPA said.

What this means to you
The Trump administration has proposed weakening requirements for testing and repairing methane leaks in drilling operations. EPA says the changes will save the industry $75 million a year in regulatory costs between 2019 and 2025.

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