EPA Proposes Rollback of Methane Emission Rules to Save Oil & Gas Industries $484 Million
USEPA, Washington DC
On Sep 18, EPA released a proposal to relax requirements for how energy companies monitor and repair methane leaks, rolling back an Obama-era regulation. The 2016 rule requires energy companies to conduct leak inspections on their drilling equipment every 6 months. Under the new proposal, companies would perform a leak inspection at least once a year, in most cases every 2 years for low-producing oil and gas wells. The current rule requires a company to fix methane leaks within 30 days, the new rules give the company 60 days to fix leaks. The new rule will also relax the requirement for companies to have a professional engineer certify that methane emission regulations had been met.
Methane is the main component of natural gas, and it is roughly 30 times more potent as a heat-trapping gas compared to CO2. Leaks from oil and gas wells, pipelines, or processing equipment account for 30% of the overall methane emission.
EPA estimates that this change would save the gas and oil companies $484 million over 6 years and would result in the emission of an additional 380,000 tons of methane, 100,000 tons of volatile organic compounds, and 38,000 tons of hazardous air pollutants. These are toxic chemicals which can cause cancer, respiratory diseases, and other illnesses.
EPA is accepting public comments until Dec 17.
The Docket ID number for the proposed amendments is EPA-HQ-OAR-2017-0483
Take One of the following Actions Now:
- Go to www.regulations.gov and type the Docket ID number above in the search box. Click on the “Comment Now!” button at the top right of the page, and follow the instructions for submitting your comments.
- Send comments by e-mail to a-and-r-Docket@epa.gov, Attention Docket ID EPA-HQ-OAR-2017-0483. Please include the docket number in the subject line.
- Fax your comments to: (202) 566-9744, Attention Docket ID. No. EPAHQ-OAR-2017-0483
- Mail your comments to Environmental Protection Agency, EPA Docket Center (EPA/DC), Mail Code 28221T, Attention Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2017-0483, 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20460.
- Note: You can find more tips on submitting comments here: www.epa.gov/dockets/commenting-epa-dockets#tips