(WASHINGTON, D.C. — April 15, 2014) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released five technical papers today, initiating the first stage in a multifaceted process that is part of the White House methane strategy. The plan, announced March 28, outlines a series of steps and a timeline that EPA, along with the U.S. Departments of Energy and the Interior will follow to reduce emissions of methane, a highly potent greenhouse gas. The strategy follows President Obama’s creation of a task force charged with developing a comprehensive plan to control methane from multiple sectors, including the oil and gas industry — the largest industrial source of methane in the United States.
“The release of these EPA white papers is as another important step in the Obama Administration’s road map to address methane pollution. The case for action is strong and we’re confident it will prove out in the end. We look forward to engaging collaboratively as the process moves forward,” said Peter Zalzal, EDF staff attorney. “Recent economic assessments point out that there are readily-available, cost-effective technologies to minimize methane emissions today, and leading states have already deployed many of these important solutions. We’re heartened to see EPA and the Administration continuing to press ahead on this urgent issue.”
In March, EDF released a comprehensive analysis prepared by the independent consulting firm ICF International, which examined opportunities to reduce methane across the oil and gas industry. The report found that 40 percent of onshore oil and gas methane emissions – equivalent to enough gas to heat approximately 2.6 million homes – could be reduced in 2018 by deploying proven, cost-effective technologies.
The EPA white papers are now available and, after public comment and technical peer review, the agency plans to decide how to best pursue additional methane reductions in the fall.