EPA Cracks Down On Oil And Gas Greenhouse Emissions

Final rules target discharges from thousands of facilities

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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has announced final rules for the disclosure of greenhouse gas emissions from the oil and gas industry, one of the largest sources of methane, a potent global warming pollutant.

According to the EPA, the rule will cover 85 percent of the greenhouse gas discharges from the oil and gas sector and will require reporting by about 2,800 facilities.

The EPA’s action requires these sectors to annually report methane, carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide emissions from flaring, equipment leaks, offshore petroleum and natural gas production, onshore production facilities, liquefied natural gas imports and exports, and onshore transmission and distribution. The EPA also finalized rules requiring inventory and disclosure for large sources of fluorinated gases.

Methane is an extremely potent greenhouse gas with a warming potential 21 times that of carbon dioxide. The oil and gas industry is the second largest contributor to U.S. methane emissions, accounting for 23 percent of methane emissions in the United States in 2007.

According to the EPA, actual disclosure won’t begin until 2012.

Raviya was a press secretary at Earthjustice in the Washington, D.C. office from 2008 to 2014, working on issues including federal rulemakings, energy efficiency laws and coal ash pollution.