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EPA Announces Rulemaking Proposal to Curb Methane Emissions from Oil and Gas Sector

Today the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) formally announced its highly-anticipated proposal to regulate methane emissions from the oil and natural gas sector.  Specifically, EPA is proposing to amend the New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) rule for the sector, NSPS Subpart OOOO, to include standards for reducing methane as well as volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions from sources located across the oil and natural gas source category (i.e., production, processing, transmission and storage).  This proposal is part of the agency’s broader strategy for reducing emissions of ground level ozone-forming pollutants from the oil and gas sector.  Public comments will be accepted for 60 days following publication in the Federal Register, and EPA is planning to host public hearings on the rulemaking.  In conjunction with today’s announcement regarding the proposed NSPS revisions, EPA also announced proposed guidelines for states to follow in order to reduce VOC emissions from existing oil and gas sources located in areas where the ambient air quality does not meet certain thresholds with respect to ozone.