The Environmental Protection Agency issued new regulations for oil and gas pollutants as part of the Obama administration’s campaign against methane pollution.
From an above ground storage tank to a transmission line, the new rules will cover a wide range of resources and equipment used in the oil and gas industry. EPA’s nonbinding environmental policies also intend to guide states that are yet to comply with federal ozone requirements.
These rules will help them to achieve a reduced amount of ozone-causing volatile organic compounds, which originate from oil and gas sites, according to HeartlandTankServices.com. The federal environment agency expects the new guidelines to strip 200,000 tons of methane pollution from the environment.
The White House’s drive to reduce methane emissions comes as it has been found to be a more lethal greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, with 25 times more global warming potential than the latter. The new policies will be implemented in 28 states nationwide that have exceeded their federal ozone limits, along with 11 Northeastern states.
However, several states have challenged the rules in a U.S. Court of Appeals. The complaint stemmed from a clear definition of the “adjacent” clause in the new rules. The clause serves as a guiding factor in what constitutes the scope of an oil and gas operation stationary source.
It still remains unclear whether the EPA’s definition of the term “adjacent” aligns with the Court of Appeals’ own description.
The oil and gas industry did not seem too pleased with the idea of EPA finalizing such rules without gathering more pollution-related data from producers. Howard Feldman, American Petroleum Institute senior director of regulatory and scientific affairs, said a lack of relevant data could elicit unattainable emission-reduction targets.
It will also hurt the economy, thereby creating a negative domino effect to jobs and consumers, according to Feldman. EPA released the new rules on Oct. 20.