Natural gas drilling emissions standards proposed by EPA

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed standards to reduce air emissions from oil and natural gas drilling operations, such as hydraulic fracturing. The standards would rely on existing technologies that would capture natural gas that escapes into the air and selling it.

The proposal includes reviews of four air regulations for the oil and natural gas industry as required by the Clean Air Act: A new source performance standard for sulfur dioxide emissions from gas processing plants, an air toxics standard for oil and natural gas production, a new source performance standard for volatile organic compunds (VOCs) from equipment leaks at gas processing plants and an air toxics standard for natural gas transmission and storage. The standards aim to cut VOC emissions from several types of processes and equipment in the oil and gas industry, including a 95 percent cut in emissions from hydraulically fractured wells.

In addition, the VOC reductions would reduce methane emissions from new and modified wells.

EPA is under a consent decree requiring the agency to sign a proposal by July 28, 2011 and take final action by Feb. 28, 2012.

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