Biden climate plan aims to reduce methane emissions

Biden climate plan aims to reduce methane emissions


The Biden administration is advancing plans to cut methane emissions sharply by the end of the decade, using tougher proposed Environmental Protection Agency regulations and other efforts to hit the mark, it said Tuesday, in a move that will frustrate an oil and gas industry that says it’s been cleaning up its act without a government push.

The action is part of a U.S. pledge made with the European Union to cut overall methane emissions by 30% below 2020 levels by 2030. On Tuesday, the U.S. and the EU were expected to announce that nearly 90 heads of state from around the world had joined this methane effort.

Biden reiterated his expectations for the global methane pact in his Monday remarks to the U.N.’s COP26 climate summit in Glasgow. Methane is more potent than carbon emissions but lasts for a shorter time in the atmosphere.

On Tuesday, the EPA will be proposing a new methane rule that regulates leak detection. The action reverses the Trump administration’s nullification of Obama administration efforts in this area and goes further, a senior Biden official said.

The EPA rule will apply to new operations for natural gas, including the regulation of natural gas that is produced as a byproduct of oil production, and that is frequently vented or flared.

Biden Climate Plan Aims to Reduce Methane Emissions-

EPA Administrator Michael Regan said the new rule, established under the Clean Air Act, would lead to significant reductions in methane emissions and other pollutants and would be stricter than an Obama-era standard set in 2016. Congress reinstated the Obama standard last summer in a rare effort by majority Democrats to use the legislative branch to overturn a regulatory rollback under President Donald Trump.

“As global leaders convene at this pivotal moment in Glasgow for COP26, it is now abundantly clear that America is back and leading by example in confronting the climate crisis with bold ambition,” Regan said, referring to the climate summit.

EPA’s “historic action” will “ensure robust and lasting cuts in pollution across the country,” Regan said. The new rule will protect communities near oil and natural gas sites and advance U.S. climate goals under the 2015 Paris Agreement, he said.

The oil and natural gas industry is the nation’s largest industrial source of methane, a highly potent pollutant that is responsible for about one-third of current warming from human activities.

The oil and gas sector also is a leading source of other harmful air pollutants, including volatile compounds that contribute to ground-level ozone, or smog, and air toxins such as benzene that are emitted along with methane.

Environmental groups call methane reduction the fastest and most cost-effective action to slow the rate of global warming. Current rules for methane emissions from U.S. oil and gas wells only apply to sources that were built or modified after 2015, leaving more than 90% of the nation’s nearly 900,000 well sites unregulated.

Biden climate plan aims to reduce methane emissions-

EPA Administrator Michael Regan said the new rule, established under the Clean Air Act, would lead to significant reductions in methane emissions and other pollutants and would be stricter than an Obama-era standard set in 2016. Congress reinstated the Obama standard last summer in a rare effort by majority Democrats to use the legislative branch to overturn a regulatory rollback under President Donald Trump.

“As global leaders convene at this pivotal moment in Glasgow for COP26, it is now abundantly clear that America is back and leading by example in confronting the climate crisis with bold ambition,” Regan said, referring to the climate summit.

EPA’s “historic action” will “ensure robust and lasting cuts in pollution across the country,” Regan said. The new rule will protect communities near oil and natural gas sites and advance U.S. climate goals under the 2015 Paris Agreement, he said.

The oil and natural gas industry is the nation’s largest industrial source of methane, a highly potent pollutant that is responsible for about one-third of current warming from human activities.

The oil and gas sector also is a leading source of other harmful air pollutants, including volatile compounds that contribute to ground-level ozone, or smog, and air toxins such as benzene that are emitted along with methane.

Environmental groups call methane reduction the fastest and most cost-effective action to slow the rate of global warming. Current rules for methane emissions from U.S. oil and gas wells only apply to sources that were built or modified after 2015, leaving more than 90% of the nation’s nearly 900,000 well sites unregulated.

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