The proposed rules would reduce methane pollution by 400,000 tons per year by 2025, the EPA said — the equivalent of removing 1.8 million cars from the road.
"Supporters and opponents of the EPA’s proposed methane rules gathered
in Pittsburgh Tuesday for a hearing on federal efforts to cut methane
emissions from oil and gas production. Methane is up to 84 times
more effective at trapping heat in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide
over a 20-year period. The oil and gas industry is the country’s largest
single source of methane emissions. In September, the EPA proposed the first federal rules to keep methane from oil and gas out of the atmosphere. The proposed rules are part of a plan that would reduce the industry’s pollution by up to 45 percent. The rule would require increased leak detection and repair of new
well pads, pipelines, and gas processing stations, said David Cozzie,
group leader of the EPA’s Fuels and Incineration Group, which helped
craft the regulations.
The rules would also require operators of compressor stations to use
‘low-bleed’ control systems that release fewer emissions, and require
plant operators to replace equipment more often, in order to prevent
methane from escaping through leaky seals. The EPA focused on well pads and compressor stations, Cozzie said,
because they are constructed with equipment that allows methane to
escape into the atmosphere. Studies have found that “super-emitters”–a relatively small number of leak sources–may produce the majority of methane pollution from the oil and gas industry. “There’s been lots of literature out there about these
super-emitters, which are sites that have large emissions and they tend
to be associated with well sites and compressor stations,” Cozzie said."