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EPA Public Hearing On Methane Emmission Rules Held In Dallas

The proposals are part of the Obama administration’s strategy to cut emissions of the powerful greenhouse gas methane in the production of oil and gas.

The federal Environmental Protection Agency was in Dallas Wednesday for a daylong public hearing on proposed rules that would govern oil and gas production.

The proposals are part of the Obama administration’s strategy to cut emissions of the powerful greenhouse gas methane in the production of oil and gas. The EPA’s Alison Davis said the new rules would expand on 2012 restrictions aimed at cutting smog.

“They would regulate emissions from hydraulically fracked oil wells, which were not covered in 2012, they would cover a number of different types of equipment further downstream that were not previously covered,” she said.

Sharon Wilson from the environmental group Earthworks, spends her time monitoring methane emissions from oil and gas drilling sites. She pleaded with EPA officials, arguing the industry is not doing enough to reduce emissions because state regulators don’t make them.

“You are our last hope. We are counting on you to make these methane rules strong to keep pollution out of our neighborhoods. We need these rules now, we need them to cover existing sources, we have no other choice,” she said.

But Todd Staples said the cost of the proposed rules would far outweigh their benefit to public health. He’s president of the Texas Oil and Gas Association, and he says methane emissions have actually gone down, even while production has gone up.

“Oil and gas companies are working to capture methane any time they can because it’s a profit center, and it’s certainly in the best interest to do so when the economics are there and the science is there to do it,” he said.

The EPA held a simultaneous hearing in Denver Wednesday. There’s another one in Pittsburgh next week. After the 60-day public comment period is over, EPA officials will finalize the rule changes.

 

 

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