EPA Methane Reporting Proposal for Oil, Gas Ensures Rigorous Disclosure from Major Emissions Sector

March 23, 2010

Tony Kreindler, National Media Director, Climate, 202-445-8108, tkreindler@edf.org
Pamela Campos, Attorney, 720-205-2366, pcampos@edf.org

(Washington – March 23, 2010) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today proposed new rules that would require the oil and gas industry to begin reporting emissions of greenhouse gases beginning next year, ensuring rigorous public disclosure of methane, which has a warming potential 24 times that of carbon dioxide.

“The public has been left in the dark about methane emissions from the oil and gas industry,” said Pamela Campos, an attorney with the Environmental Defense Fund. “EPA’s leadership in requiring disclosure of this potent greenhouse gas will mean more rigorous information and smarter policies to address pollution.”

The oil and gas industry is the second largest contributor to U.S. methane emissions, accounting for 23% of methane emissions in the United States in 2007. In 2007, methane emissions from oil and gas systems in the United States equaled the greenhouse gas emissions of approximately 24 coal plants.

EPA’s proposed rules would require data collection beginning January 2011 and reporting by March 2012, covering methane and carbon dioxide emissions from both on-shore and off-shore production facilities as well as processing and transmission facilities.

“Rigorous emissions data is the foundation of well-designed public policy,” Campos said. “Access to facility-based data from the oil-and gas sector is a critical first step towards achieving well-designed emissions reductions.”

In addition to the proposed methane rules, EPA released proposed reporting rules for other high-potency greenhouse gases which would require reporting from producers of SF6 and other fluorinated greenhouse gas products, electronics manufacturing, manufacturers of electrical equipment, and importers of pre-charged equipment and certain foams. EPA also proposed reporting requirements for facilities that inject and store carbon dioxide (CO2) underground.