United States: EPA Proposes Changes To Regulations On Methane Emissions

On September 11, the EPA proposed changes to an Obama-era rule on methane emissions to give oil and gas companies more time between inspections of drilling equipment and to repair methane gas leaks. Industry groups opposed the 2016 rule, which required energy companies to conduct leak inspections on their drilling equipment as regularly as every six months, as being overly burdensome. Under the EPA's new proposal, energy companies would perform leak inspections at least once a year, in most cases, and every two years for low-producing oil and gas wells. Oil and gas drillers are currently required to fix methane leaks within 30 days, but the new rule would extend that period to 60 days. Environmental groups have criticized the proposal as making it easier for oil and gas companies to release methane into the environment and contribute to global warming. A draft of the proposal can be found here.

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