U.S., Canada to cut methane emissions from oil and gas sector

  • Marie Cusick

President Barack Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, stand for the playing of national anthems during an arrival ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Thursday, March 10, 2016.

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

President Barack Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, stand for the playing of national anthems during an arrival ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Thursday, March 10, 2016.


The U.S. and Canada have agreed to work together to cut methane emissions from the oil and gas sector. The Wall Street Journal reports the announcement comes ahead of a the first visit Thursday to the White House by newly-elected Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
The two countries are pledging to cut methane emissions from the oil and gas sector by 40 to 45 percent below 2012 levels by 2015. The oil and gas industry is the second largest contributor of methane emissions in the United States after agriculture, according to the EPA.
Next month the EPA plans to release draft requirements for oil and gas companies to provide information about emissions. The agency was already developing new rules aimed at cutting emissions from new wells.
Not surprisingly, the move was welcomed by environmental groups as an important step to addressing climate change and criticized by the industry as harmful to the nation’s shale boom.
“Additional regulations on methane by the administration could discourage the shale energy revolution that has helped America lead the world in reducing emissions while significantly lowering the costs of energy to consumers,” said Kyle Isakower of the American Petroleum Association.
“Thanks to this collaboration, both nations will lay out long-term plans this year to dramatically reduce the use of fossil fuels and increase our clean energy commitments, ensuring we’ll stay on the path to meet the goals set in Paris and continue leading the way on international climate action,” said Sierra Club president Michael Brune.
Earlier this year, Governor Tom Wolf announced his administration would develop new rules to cut methane emissions from Pennsylvania’s oil and gas industry. The state Department of Environmental Protection is creating a new general permit for Marcellus Shale wellpads, which it hopes to complete this year. It’s also drafting new regulations to curb leaks from existing sources, such as compressor stations. Those regulations are expected to be finalized by the end of next year.
 

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