Thursday, January 15, 2015

EPA's plan to cut methane emissions lets current polluters off the hook

Obama's Methane Crackdown to Come Slow and Easy: Cautious approach to regulating oil and gas industry disappoints environmentalists, who regard the plan as a 'toe in the water.'

By Neela Banerjee, InsideClimate News
Jan 14, 2015

WASHINGTON – The Obama administration on January 14 rolled out its long-awaited plan to control the oil and gas industry's emissions of methane, saying it would cut leaks of the potent global-warming pollutant nearly in half in the coming decade.

The White House called its approach a crucial step to achieving the ambitious greenhouse-gas emissions targets President Obama announced last November in Beijing, but some environmental advocates said the plan, which relies heavily on voluntary efforts, failed to go far enough.

The methane plan calls for the Environmental Protection Agency to propose methane reductions at new oil and gas sites by summer 2015 and issue a final rule next year. The goal is to cut the industry's emissions 40 to 45 percent below the 2012 level by the year 2025.

Despite being an important expansion of greenhouse gas regulations under the Clean Air Act, the proposed rule would not address methane leaking from existing oil and gas wells and delivery networks. Rather, the administration said it would work with industry on voluntary efforts to cut methane from existing oil and gas sites, which studies have found to be riddled with leaks.

(Continued here.)

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