The Environmental Protection Agency has proposed sweeping new regulations to reduce the number of methane leaks in U.S. homes and businesses.
In its latest draft of its proposed rules, the agency says it will seek to limit emissions from natural-gas-fired power plants by 30 percent by 2030.
The proposed rules would require utilities to install methane-detecting systems, increase the safety of existing equipment and limit the use of gas-burning appliances.
The EPA says the measures will be in place by 2025 and would reduce methane emissions from power plants from 20 billion metric tons in 2020 to 10 billion metric ton in 2030.
Natural gas has become the nation’s top source of methane emissions, and the EPA estimates it would cause a 1,300-square-mile area of the U.N. Climate Change Conference on Climate Change (COP21) to lose the capacity to process and store carbon dioxide equivalent of more than one-third of the planet’s current carbon emissions.
Natural-gas emissions have soared, reaching a peak of more then 300 billion metric pounds (mtps) in 2014.
However, the EPA has been cautious about the effects of methane, noting in its draft rule that natural- gas emissions are unlikely to cause serious climate changes.
The agency’s proposed rule is part of a broader proposal to regulate natural gas in the United States.
In May, the Senate passed a bill to regulate the gas industry, but it has not yet gone to President Donald Trump.
The bill, introduced by Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.
Va.), would require that all natural gas-fired plants comply with the Clean Air Act, which requires companies to limit methane emissions to less than 30 percent of total emissions.
The Senate bill, S. 1243, would also require companies to install and maintain a plan to limit their methane emissions.
It also would require states to monitor and report on methane emissions on a daily basis.
Natural Gas Industry: The Big Picture Source: AP