At the UN climate conference in Dubai (COP28) on December 2, 2023, Administrator Regan announced EPA’s final rule regulating methane and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from oil and natural gas operations under section 111 of the Clean Air Act. The final rule is the culmination of years of work by the agency, the Biden administration, oil and natural gas operators, technology developers, scientists, legal and policy experts, and other stakeholders to develop regulations that achieve significant methane emission reductions and leverage advanced technologies that better detect and reduce methane emissions.
EPA projects that the final rule will result in approximately 58 million short tons of avoided methane emissions from 2024 to 2038 as well as 16 million tons of VOCs, and 590 thousand tons of hazardous air pollutants. EPA also estimates that the final rule will result in approximately 80 percent reduction in methane emissions from the oil and natural gas sector than is projected without the rule.
In this paper we explain EPA’s authority to issue this rule, and why it applies to new and existing sources for the first time. We outline key provisions, including those that enable use of rapidly advancing monitoring technologies; timelines and requirements for monitoring, compliance, and development of state plans; key aspects of the new super-emitter program to catch large release events; environmental justice considerations; and predicted costs and benefits of the rule.