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Energy & Environment

Oil And Gas Companies Announce Methane Reduction Plan

Industry representatives suggest it’s a way to show companies can police themselves

A natural gas fracking well near Shreveport, Louisiana.

A group of oil and gas companies with operations across the U.S. are pledging to cut methane emissions.

26 companies have signed onto the plan, dubbed "The Environmental Partnership." It comes amid the Trump Administration's effort to roll back environmental regulations. Under the voluntary program, the companies involved will use better technology and practices to monitor and reduce emissions from natural gas sites.

In announcing the plan, industry representatives said it's not an effort to prevent future regulations on methane. But at the same time, they suggested it is meant to show the industry can police itself.

"Technology advances, industry innovates, and we're able to solve a lot of these problems based upon the industry coming together and doing it through a voluntary approach like this," said Erik Milito with the American Petroleum Institute, which helped organize the effort.

"I think one of our concerns is putting us in the position where we get overly prescriptive with a regulation that may not be cost effective, and by doing it through this approach, we're going to gather data, learn from the data," Milito said.

The Environmental Defense Fund called it a "weak" initiative.

“The last several months have produced a number of good examples of what leadership in reducing methane looks like,” said Matt Watson, an associate vice president with the EDF. “The API program falls well short of these industry led efforts and doesn’t reflect best practice in reductions or disclosure.”

The environmental group argues that the API's opposition to, and legal challenge against, Obama-era methane rules show the industry group isn't serious about tackling emissions.


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