As part of the Obama Administration’s Climate Action Plan, EPA has released proposed rules targeting methane reductions on a range of new sources in the oil and gas sector. The proposal expands the requirements set in a 2012 rule to now include hydraulically fractured wells, compressor stations and other equipment. And, while the 2012 rules regulated volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions, the new proposal requires sources to control methane emissions.
Oil and gas industry groups and some lawmakers immediately attacked the proposal citing that the industry has voluntarily made substantial cuts in methane emissions making the rule unnecessary. Environmental groups claim the rule does not go far enough to curb emissions.
Whether EPA will follow this proposal on new sources with a rule targeting existing sources, as was the case for power plants, remains unclear. While EPA appears to be focused on new sources for now, when asked if EPA will pursue an existing source standard, acting air chief Janet McCabe said that “we’re not ruling anything out.”
EPA will accept comments for 60 days from the day the proposal is published in the Federal Registry.
On a related note, Pennsylvania DEP Secretary John Quigley hinted that a new package of rules for the industry is currently being developed. More information on the scope of those rules is expected later this year.