Proposed Rule to Tackle Methane Emissions in the Oil and Gas Sector
January 12, 2024
The EPA’s Efforts to Reduce Methane Emissions
Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a proposed rule to address wasteful methane emissions from the oil and gas sector. This rule aligns with the Inflation Reduction Act‘s directive to encourage the adoption of industry best practices that reduce pollution. The proposed rule will impose a charge on certain large emitters of waste methane, exceeding emissions levels set by Congress. By working alongside the recently finalized technology standards issued in December 2023, this Waste Emissions Charge aims to incentivize the early deployment of available technologies and best practices to reduce methane emissions and other harmful air pollutants.
EPA Administrator’s Statement
EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan stated, “Under President Biden’s leadership, EPA is delivering on a comprehensive strategy to reduce wasteful methane emissions that endanger communities and fuel the climate crisis. Today’s proposal, when finalized, will support a complementary set of technology standards and historic resources from the Inflation Reduction Act, to incentivize industry innovation and prompt action. We are laser-focused on working collectively with companies, states, and communities to ensure that America leads in deploying technologies and innovations that aid in the development of a clean energy economy.”
The Importance of the Methane Emissions Reduction Program
Senator Carper, Chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, expressed his support for the Methane Emissions Reduction Program, stating, “We know methane is over 80 times more potent than carbon dioxide at trapping heat in our atmosphere in the short term. Thankfully, the Methane Emissions Reduction Program – which Congress adopted as part of the Inflation Reduction Act – will incentivize producers to cut wasteful and excessive methane emissions during oil and gas production.”
Eliminating Consumer Costs and Protecting American Families
Representative Frank Pallone, Jr., Ranking Member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, highlighted the importance of the proposed Waste Emissions Charge in eliminating consumer costs and protecting American families. He stated, “For too long it has been cheaper for oil and gas operators to waste methane rather than make the necessary upgrades to prevent leaks and flaring. Wasted methane never makes its way to consumers, but they are nevertheless stuck with the bill. The Methane Emissions Reduction Program and the proposed Waste Emissions Charge will ensure consumers no longer pay for wasted energy or the harm its emissions can cause. I commend EPA for taking the next step to hold the largest polluters accountable and protect American families from dangerous methane pollution.”
Support from Environmental Organizations
Fred Krupp, President of the Environmental Defense Fund, voiced his support for the fee on oil and gas methane pollution, stating, “It’s common sense to hold oil and gas companies accountable for this pollution. Proven solutions to cut oil and gas methane and to avoid the fee are being used by leading companies in states across the country.”
The Impact of Methane Emissions
Methane is a climate “super pollutant” that is more potent than carbon dioxide and responsible for approximately one third of the warming from greenhouse gases. The oil and natural gas sector is the largest industrial source of methane emissions in the United States. Rapidly reducing these emissions is crucial in slowing the rate of global temperature rise.
The Three-Part Framework of the Methane Emissions Reduction Program
EPA is implementing the three-part framework of the Inflation Reduction Act‘s Methane Emissions Reduction Program. Firstly, EPA is partnering with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to provide over $1 billion dollars in financial and technical assistance, accelerating the transition to no- and low-emitting oil and gas technologies. Secondly, EPA is working with industry and stakeholders to improve the Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program and enhance the accuracy of reported methane emissions. Thirdly, EPA’s proposed rule seeks to encourage facilities with high methane emissions to meet or exceed performance levels set by Congress.
The Waste Emissions Charge
The Waste Emissions Charge, established by the Inflation Reduction Act, applies to methane emissions from certain oil and gas facilities. The charge starts at $900 per metric ton of wasteful emissions in 2024, increasing in subsequent years. Facilities in compliance with the recently finalized Clean Air Act standards would be exempt from the charge after meeting certain criteria set by Congress. Over time, the number of facilities facing the charge is expected to decrease as emissions are reduced.
Encouraging Emissions Reduction through Technology
Oil and natural gas operations with excessive methane emissions can reduce or eliminate the charge by deploying available technologies to reduce harmful emissions. This program aims to level the playing field for industry leaders already implementing best practices and drive widespread methane reductions in the short term while working towards full implementation of the Clean Air Act standards.
Achieving Clean, Cost-Effective Technologies
Together, EPA’s Clean Air Act rule and the Inflation Reduction Act provisions will spur the adoption of clean, cost-effective technologies, reduce wasteful practices, and generate significant economic and environmental benefits. These efforts will also drive innovation in methane detection, monitoring, and mitigation techniques.
For more information, please visit the Methane Emissions Reduction Program website.
Read More of this Story at www.epa.gov – 2024-01-12 18:32:13
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