US and Canada to cut methane emissions
WASHINGTON D.C., March 10, 2016 – The Obama administration is planning to announce measures aimed at reducing methane emissions from oil and gas wells on Thursday. President Barack Obama is expected to reveal details of the plan on the occasion of the first visit to the White House of newly elected Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Sources familiar with the announcement say the two countries aim to decrease methane emissions by as much as 45% below levels recorded in 2012 by 2025. “Our countries are stepping up to the challenge of methane emissions, and driving forward the regulatory measures necessary to curb methane emissions from existing oil and gas sources,” Brian Deese, a senior adviser to President Obama, told the Wall Street Journal on Thursday.
Plans are also underway to regulate lower emission levels for planned oil and gas wells. Worked on by the US Environmental Protection Agency under the Clean Air Act, the draft is expected to be released in April.
Canadian draft regulation will cover both new and existing wells, with the first proposals to that end expected in early 2017. US regulation is not expected during Obama’s term in office, which ends in January 2017.
While methane emissions from oil and gas wells have been on a downward trend since 2005, having fallen by some 15% according to US government data, the oil and gas industry is still the US’ second-biggest emitter of methane gases, responsible for close to 30% of country-wide emissions, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.