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Environment

EPA moving to reduce methane emissions

by Jeff Johnson, special to C&EN
July 25, 2016 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 94, ISSUE 30

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Lincoln, Neb., drilled wells to capture gas from a municipal waste landfill.
Lincoln, Neb., drilled wells to capture gas from a municipal waste landfill.

Methane, a potent greenhouse gas, was the focus of two EPA actions last week. First, a final regulation from EPA will limit methane releases from landfills, which the agency says account for 20% of U.S. methane emissions and are the second-largest industrial source of the gas. The new regulation sets an emission standard tighter than the 20-year-old limit it replaces. More than 1,000 existing and planned landfills are affected, EPA says. About 70% of these facilities will have to collect and combust methane by 2025, when the regulation goes into effect. In a second action, EPA called for public comments on the use of innovative technologies to monitor, detect, and eliminate fugitive methane emissions at oil and natural gas drilling and processing operations. These facilities are the largest source of U.S. methane emissions. The request is part of a larger EPA effort to collect information on oil and gas drilling operations while the agency considers regulations for some 500,000 existing oil and gas wells.

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