Activists are hopeful that EPA proposed methane regulations will reduce emissions
The proposed regulations would require each state to submit plans for reducing methane emissions. Native American tribes like the Navajo Nation would not be included in their respective states’ plans. Instead, each tribal government can submit its own plan or the EPA can develop a plan for the Tribe.
A fact sheet released by the EPA states that well sites with estimated emissions of less than three tons per year will be required to conduct a survey and perform repairs as needed, but are not required to have ongoing monitoring. However, the EPA is seeking comments about whether those sites should be required to conduct regular leak monitoring if certain types of equipment is used.
The EPA’s regulations follow the lead of various states including New Mexico, California and Colorado that developed strong methane rules in the absence of federal regulations—a point which was brought up during a panel discussion Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham moderated at the U.S. Climate Action Center during the United Nations Climate Change Conference, also known as COP26.
The EPA further plans to release a supplemental proposal next year and is asking for comments and information to help evaluate opportunities to further reduce pollution.
The proposed regulations also address abandoned wells and lists several strategies for dealing with such facilities.