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Modified EPA Methane Rules Support Further Emissions Reductions

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WASHINGTON, August 13, 2020 – The American Petroleum Institute (API) issued the following statement as Andrew Wheeler, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, is expected to sign modified methane rules during an event in Pittsburgh today. The modified rules further align the agency with its statutory obligations under the Clean Air Act while enabling continued emissions reductions.

“We support this revision as it is consistent with the requirements of the Clean Air Act,” API Senior Vice President of Policy, Economics and Regulatory Affairs Frank Macchiarola said. “Our industry continues to drive down methane emissions from operations while meeting America’s energy needs every day. Under these modified rules, operators will still be required to control emissions, and the industry continues to make progress in reducing methane emissions through new technologies. Thanks to measurable industry actions, promoted by initiatives like The Environmental Partnership, methane emission rates from five of the largest producing regions across the U.S. have fallen more than 60 percent from 2011 to 2018 – even as production in those regions has increased dramatically.”

For nearly a decade, EPA officials have been clear that NSPS targeting emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) “will also decrease methane emissions,” negating the need for another layer of government regulation.

In the Marcellus and Utica basins, the primary producing regions of Pennsylvania and Ohio, methane emission rates declined more than 75 percent as production increased from 2011 to 2018. In the Permian Basin, spanning Texas and New Mexico, production surged 170 percent over the same period, but methane emissions relative to production declined nearly 45 percent. Production in the the Eagle Ford basin of Texas grew 140 percent as well, and methane emissions relative to production fell more than 70 percent. A study by the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration also found that overall U.S. methane emissions have remained flat since 2006 despite increased oil and natural gas production.

API represents all segments of America’s oil and natural gas industry. Our more than 600 members produce, process and distribute most of the nation’s energy. The industry supports more than ten million U.S. jobs and is backed by a growing grassroots movement of millions of Americans. API was formed in 1919 as a standards-setting organization. In our first 100 years, API has developed more than 700 standards to enhance operational and environmental safety, efficiency and sustainability.

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