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New Methane Rule Promises Emissions Cut

The Biden administration has strengthened a 2021 proposal to cut planet-warming gas emissions. By 2030, the move is slated to slash methane pollution by 87% from 2005 levels, according to The Hill.

What’s going on: Last year’s plan expected to reduce methane emissions by 74% over the course of the same period.

  • The Environmental Protection Agency said “its two methane proposals would reduce about 36 million tons of methane emissions between 2023 and 2035, which it said is nearly the planet-warming equivalent of greenhouse gases emitted from all of the country’s coal-fired power plants in 2020.” 

Why it’s important: Methane traps an average of 80 times as much heat as carbon dioxide in the first 20 years after it reaches the atmosphere, according to the EPA.

What’s in the new rule: One of the provisions in the new proposal is a “super-emitter response program” that would mandate a response from oil and gas operators in the event of a credible report of sizable methane leaks.

  • “The rule is expected to require that wells are monitored for leaks until they are closed and put new regulations on a practice called flaring in which excess gas is burned off.”
  • The proposal also includes additional flexibility in how operators may meet the new requirements, along with the acceptance of advanced leak detection technology.
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