Fracking In California Under Spotlight As Some Local Municipalities Issue Bans

Today the White House announced its inter-agency strategy for cutting methane emissions from landfills, coal mining, agriculture, and oil & gas systems as part of the Obama administration’s Climate Action Plan.

“Taking action to curb methane waste and pollution is important because emissions of methane make up nearly 9 percent of all the greenhouse gas emitted as a result of human activity in the United States,” according to a fact sheet released by the government.

Major US oil and sector implications:

  • In the spring of 2014, EPA will assess several potentially significant sources of methane and other emissions from the oil and gas sector. EPA will solicit input from independent experts through a series of technical white papers, and in the fall of 2014, EPA will determine how best to pursue further methane reductions from these sources. If EPA decides to develop additional regulations, it will complete those regulations by the end of 2016.
  • Later this year, the BLM will propose updated standards to reduce venting and flaring from oil and gas production on public lands.
  • As part of the Quadrennial Energy Review, and through DOE-convened roundtables, the Administration will identify “downstream” methane reduction opportunities. Through the Natural Gas STAR program, EPA will work with the industry to expand voluntary efforts to reduce methane emissions.

“Cutting methane emissions will be especially critical to climate protection as the U.S. develops its huge shale gas reserves, gaining the full greenhouse gas benefit from the switch away from coal,” said Paul Bledsoe, a former Clinton White House climate change aide, now with the German Marshall Fund, as reported by the New York Times.