The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has finalized standards for reducing methane emissions from the oil and gas sector. The announcement comes as the world gathers for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change annual Conference of Parties taking place in the United Arab Emirates.
The standard will curb leaks at oil and gas operations that result from accidental leaks, outmoded practices, and obsolete technology utilized by the industry in the gathering, transmission, production, and processing of natural gas. The final rule builds on the strength of EPA’s previous proposal by:
- Eliminating routine flaring of associated gas from new wells;
- Creating a zero emissions standard for pneumatic controllers and pumps; and
- Expediting the state implementation process, requiring plans be submitted in the next two years.
A recent analysis by the BlueGreen Alliance analysis found over 10,000 net direct and indirect jobs a year will be created by efforts to reduce methane emissions in the oil and gas sector through 2035. That same analysis found deploying the kind of low-cost solutions needed to plug most of these methane leaks could reduce emissions by the equivalent to the natural gas consumption of 19.7 million households each year from 2023 to 2035.
In response, the BlueGreen Alliance released the following statement from Executive Director Jason Walsh:
“The BlueGreen Alliance is built on the promise that good jobs and a clean environment go together. Standards like the one finalized by the EPA to reduce methane emissions at oil and gas facilities meet that promise. Stopping unnecessary methane emissions will be a huge boon for our climate. But, just as importantly in our view, it will also create jobs across the country and protect worker and community health.
“We applaud President Biden for showing the world that we can have good jobs and a clean environment if we act to fight climate change the right way.”