(AUSTIN, Texas – April 4, 2014) Environmental Defense Fund today applauded Ohio Governor John Kasich and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency for adopting nationally leading requirements to reduce air pollution from oil and gas operations. The rules target so-called fugitive emissions (leaking valves, connectors and other equipment) at unconventional oil and gas well sites.
Ohio is the third major oil-and-gas producing state in recent months to adopt policies requiring operators to perform regular inspections to pinpoint equipment leaks and quickly repair them. When left unaddressed, fugitive emissions can be a major source of smog-forming VOCs (volatile organic compounds) and methane, a highly potent greenhouse gas.
"This is just the latest example of leadership from the Kasich administration in minimizing risk around oil and gas development. It reflects a fast-growing recognition that, if we're going to develop this resource, we have to do it right. It’s essential we maintain an unblinking vigilance in driving down harmful emissions," said EDF President Fred Krupp.
Under the Ohio policy, operators will be required to scan all the equipment at a well site on a quarterly basis using an infrared camera or other hydrocarbon detection device. A first attempt at fixing any found leaks must be made within five days, and operators will be required to submit detailed leak detection and repair reports to state regulators on an annual basis. The Ohio program comes on the heels of similar programs being rolled out in Colorado and Wyoming.
"This is what leadership looks like," said Matt Watson, national director of state programs for EDF's natural gas work. "There are parts of the policy we would have written differently, but this unquestionably puts Ohio among the national leaders in tackling fugitive emissions."
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