Highlighting his trip to the Cop27 global climate meeting in Egypt, President Joe Biden announced a supplemental rule cracking down on methane emissions. Friday’s announcement follows up on a rule he announced last year at Cop26 in Scotland.
Last year’s rule targeted emissions from existing oil and gas wells nationwide, rather than focusing only on new wells as previous EPA regulations have done. The update goes a step further and takes aim at all drilling sites, including smaller wells that emit less than 3 tons of methane per year. Small wells currently are subject to an initial inspection but are rarely checked again for leaks.
“Reducing methane emissions is the fastest way to lower global temperatures in the near term, avoid dangerous climate tipping points, and alleviate global adaptation burdens,” the White House said in a Friday fact sheet. “Capturing flared and leaked gas in the oil and gas sector is also a critical near-term solution to boost global gas supplies and support energy security.”
The proposal also requires operators to respond to credible third-party reports of high-volume methane leaks. The United States is among more than 100 countries that have pledged to cut methane emissions by 30% from 2020 levels by 2030.
In addition to announcing the methane emissions rule at Cop27, Biden also touted other steps the U.S. has taken to fight climate change. This includes the Inflation Reduction Act, which includes some $375 billion over a decade towards clean energy investments.
“The United States is following through on its existing commitments and initiatives while also accelerating new and expanded domestic and global efforts,” the White House said in the fact sheet. “As President Biden said at last year’s COP in Glasgow, this is a decisive decade – and the United States is acting to lead a clean energy future that leverages market forces, technological innovation, and investments to tackle the climate crisis.”