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EPA proposal would require more oversight on methane emissions

On Thursday, the EPA issued a proposal amending reporting requirements for petroleum and natural gas systems.

A remote natural gas well near Parachute, Colorado in 2008. Source - National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Public Domain
A remote natural gas well near Parachute, Colorado in 2008. Source - National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Public Domain

On Thursday, the EPA issued a proposal amending reporting requirements for petroleum and natural gas systems under EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program.

The proposed rules would amend reporting requirements under EPA’s greenhouse gas (GHG) reporting program. The revisions, if approved, would apply to “petroleum and natural gas facilities” covered by the Biden administration’s Inflation Reduction Act, which included a methane emissions reduction program.

“The Biden-Harris Administration is moving urgently to reduce climate pollution, and EPA is working to ensure science leads the way with the most accurate emissions data possible,” said Joseph Goffman, Principal Deputy Assistant Administrator for EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation.

“The proposed revisions to EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program will leverage advancements in technology to produce high-quality, long-term data for emitters, contributing important insights into emissions trends as we work to protect people and the planet.”

The EPA is proposing an amendment to subpart W of the GHG reporting program now in effect, addressing gaps in the reporting of total methane emissions by facilities.

These gaps might include newly covered sources such as “other large release events,” which would capture abnormal methane emission events that are not fully accounted for using existing methods.

The amendments would also add new or revise existing calculation methodologies to improve the accuracy of reported emissions data for methane and other greenhouse gases by the addition of empirical data, such as remote sensing for quantifying emissions from other large release events.

The EPA is also proposing determinations to establish whether data submitted to the Agency under the proposed revisions would be entitled to confidential treatment.

Under this new proposal, most revisions would become effective on January 1, 2025, and the implementation of most of the changes would begin with reports prepared for the 2025 reporting year and submitted by March 31, 2026.

EPA will take comment on these proposals for 60 days after publication in the Federal Register. 

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We are deeply saddened to announce the passing of our dear friend Karen Graham, who served as Editor-at-Large at Digital Journal. She was 78 years old. Karen's view of what is happening in our world was colored by her love of history and how the past influences events taking place today. Her belief in humankind's part in the care of the planet and our environment has led her to focus on the need for action in dealing with climate change. It was said by Geoffrey C. Ward, "Journalism is merely history's first draft." Everyone who writes about what is happening today is indeed, writing a small part of our history.

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