Regulations to cut methane emissions from the oil and gas sector by 40% to 45% over the next decade from 2012 levels are scheduled to be proposed this summer and completed by 2016, but they would apply only to new or modified sites. For existing oil and gas operations, the EPA says it will rely mostly on voluntary measures to cut methane, a move backed by the industry. To reduce emissions at new or modified sites, companies would have to install technology that prevents methane from being inadvertently leaked and monitor their operations for possible leaks. The new regulations are designed to help the Administration meet a commitment it made in Beijing in November to reduce U.S. greenhouse-gas emissions, as well as to bring political momentum to a United Nations summit this year where world leaders will decide whether to create a new climate agreement.
Following up on a June 11th letter from seven Republican Senators to President Obama asking him to scrap plans to regulate methane emissions from oil and gas operations, Senator Inhofe plans to hold a hearing on the issue in July in an effort to seek more details on the Administration’s plans for future rules.