11/21/2022 - Federal Policy - Methane Regulation

EPA’s Supplemental Methane Proposal—A Comprehensive Regulatory Framework to Encourage Use of Advanced Technologies and Significantly Reduce Methane Emissions

by Carrie Jenks, Hannah Oakes, Sara Dewey

On November 11, 2022, at COP27, President Biden announced the release of EPA’s Supplemental Proposal to update and strengthen standards for the oil and natural gas sector to reduce methane and volatile organic compounds from new facilities and methane from existing facilities. EPA projects that by 2030, the Supplemental will reduce methane emissions by 87 percent relative to 2005 levels while also recovering saleable natural gas.

The Supplemental follows EPA’s November 2021 proposed rule, in which EPA took an initial step to restore methane rules for oil and natural gas facilities that the Trump administration repealed and proposed, for the first time, to limit methane from existing oil and natural gas infrastructure. The Supplemental reflects stakeholder comments and strengthens the 2021 Proposal by proposing more comprehensive requirements to reduce emissions, an innovative leak detection technology-inclusive approach, and a program to quickly identify and repair the largest leak events. Once final, EPA’s approach, combined with separate regulatory actions to implement the Inflation Reduction Act’s methane provisions, presents an opportunity to design regulations that can reflect the fast pace of technology advancements and thereby increase the scale of emission reductions throughout the oil and natural gas infrastructure.

In our new white paper discussing this most recent proposal, we focus on the approaches EPA proposes that will enable the timely deployment of rapidly advancing technologies. The use of these technologies can lead to greater emission reductions by detecting the larger events that are a significant portion of the sector’s methane emissions. We discuss the deadlines EPA is proposing to require for state plans as well as the authority of states to include certain flexibilities, and how this interacts with other methane programs. Finally, we highlight key areas where EPA solicits stakeholder comment by February 13, 2023.

Read or download EELP’s white paper: EPA’s Supplemental Methane Proposal – A Comprehensive Regulatory Framework to Encourage Use of Advanced Technologies and Significantly Reduce Methane Emissions, here.