A proposal from the Obama administration to curb methane emissions from oil and gas production sources was announced on Wednesday.
The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) plan, which will go through a rule making process, looks to slash methane emissions by 45 percent from 2012 levels by 2025.
“The U.S. is now the largest oil-and-gas producer in the world, providing an abundant source of energy to power and heat American homes and businesses,” Dan Utech, special assistant to the president for energy and climate change, said Wednesday, reported the Washington Times. “At the same time, methane … is a potent greenhouse gas with 25 times the heat-trapping potential of carbon dioxide.”
The EPA wants to have the methane-reduction regulations in place by next year.
Utech added that, “This strategy will benefit the climate, the economy and public health.”
Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune issued the following statement in response to the Obama administration’s announcement that it is moving forward with the “process for establishing first time controls on methane emissions from oil and gas wells.”
Reducing methane in the atmosphere is necessary to address the unchecked climate pollution caused by the dramatic growth of oil and gas production in the United States. This expansion is driven by dangerous techniques, including fracking, which the Sierra Club opposes because they pollute our air and water and hold us back from clean energy prosperity. We cannot afford to wait: regulating methane directly is a critical step, but EPA and (the Bureau of Land Management) must act quickly to reduce methane emissions from all new and existing sources of methane pollution in the oil and gas sector, including the transmission and distribution of natural gas.
Controlling methane, however, is not an end in itself and it will not make fracked oil and gas climate friendly. Continued reliance on dirty fossil fuels is a dangerous course for our communities and our climate. Numerous scientific articles now point to the need to keep more than two-thirds of our fossil fuels in the ground in order to avoid climate chaos. We must move swiftly to truly clean energy like wind, solar and energy efficiency while establishing policies that keep fossil fuels in the ground.