In April 2012, U.S. EPA finalized updated air pollution performance standards and air toxics rules for the oil production and natural gas industries. These rules were long overdue and, for the first time, require gas drillers and producers to use common-sense, very cost-effective measures to prevent pollution of the air that causes smog and warms the climate.
After the White House's announcement of its strategy to cut methane emissions, including from the oil and gas industry, EPA issued a series of five white papers that explore the status of the emissions — and potential corresponding control technologies — for five emission sources that were left unregulated by the 2012 NSPS: compressors (both existing sources as well as new sources at the well pad and in the transmission and storage segment); pneumatic devices (existing sources and intermittent-bleed controllers, as well as new sources in the transmission and storage segment); leaks/fugitive emissions; oil wells; and liquids unloading.
Clean Air Task Force is continuing to work to reduce pollution which warms the climate and causes smog from the natural gas industry. CATF, along with other environmental groups, filed a Petition for Reconsideration with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia requesting EPA to, among other things, directly regulate methane.
Below are our analyses of the 2012 rules; technical comments on the rules, and the subsequent White Papers, we prepared jointly with other groups and submitted to EPA; the Petition for Reconsideration; the subsequent other information we've prepared on the rules.
The unprecedented growth and change in this industry, with the advent of fracking, makes these updates and expansions of the rules all the more needed. Natural Gas Systems are the largest source of methane emissions from the US. Unfortunately, the final rules leave gaps: there are many sources of air pollution from this industry which will remain unregulated, despite the fact that cost-effective, widely-used controls exist which can reduce that pollution. Many of these pay for themselves quickly, since they save more gas for gas companies to sell — but many companies still have not adopted these measures.
Clean Air Task Force is continuing to work to reduce pollution which warms the climate and causes smog from the natural gas industry.
Challenge to EPA's Administrative Stay (filed June 2017)