The Obama administration wants to cut methane emissions from energy production on federally owned lands by requiring oil and natural-gas companies to limit flaring at wells and take steps to reduce leaks.
The Interior Dept.’s Bureau of Land Management says the proposed rule, announced on Jan. 22, is part of the administration’s strategy to cut methane emissions from the oil-and-gas sector by 40% to 45% by 2025, compared with 2012 levels. If current practices do not change, BLM says, U.S. emissions of methane—viewed as a much more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide—are projected to increase substantially.
Environmental groups praised the proposal, contending that reducing methane emissions is crucial to addressing climate change.
But Dan Naatz, Independent Petroleum Association of America senior vice president of government relations and political affairs, says improved technology already has enabled shale energy producers to trim methane emissions by 13.3% since 2008. “Imposing these new regulations will make it more expensive and harder for independent producers to operate,” he says.