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Feds Finalize Methane Emissions Rule

May 13, 2016

Credit thinkprogress.org

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has finalized a rule to cut methane emissions from oil and gas production by nearly half over the next decade.

It's part of an ongoing push to curb emissions of the gasses that cause global climate change. The EPA rule would cut methane from drilling by 40 to 45 percent by the year 2025, compared to 2012 levels. It would make energy producers find and repair leaks at oil and gas wells and capture gas that escapes from fracking wells. Ohio already requires industry to regularly check for and repair equipment. Environmental groups in Ohio and other states are applauding the rule, saying the oil and gas industry is the largest source of methane emissions in the country. Jessica Ennis with Earthjustice says methane traps more than 80 times as much heat in the short term as carbon dioxide.

Andrew Williams is with the Environmental Defense Fund of Ohio.

The EPA says the rule will produce an estimated 700-million dollars in climate benefits. The industry says the rules are unnecessary because it has already reduced emissions by nearly 79 percent since 2005. But environmentalists say recent research has discredited those estimates.