EPA set to release voluntary methane emissions reduction proposal.

July 23, 2015

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is expected to propose a new, "enhanced" Natural Gas STAR Program at some point soon. The program would provide guidelines to oil and gas companies interested in voluntarily reducing their methane emissions. This follows an increasing number of industry calls for voluntary measures to reduce pollution. This release will be the EPA's first set of formal rules regarding methane emissions. 

The EPA describes the Natural Gas STAR Program as "a flexible, voluntary partnership that encourages oil and natural gas companies—both domestically and abroad—to adopt cost-effective technologies and practices that improve operational efficiency and reduce emissions of methane, a potent greenhouse gas and clean energy source."

Further details and resources on how to comply with it can be found here. Resources include general capital costs for a variety of emissions upgrades, as well as fact sheets on equipment and the general impact each move would have.

While voluntary programs are a step in the right direction in terms of methane regulations, the vast majority of companies usually avoid taking part in them. As it stands, less than half a percent of oil and gas producers currently hold STAR memberships. With such a low turnout, it can be expected that they'll eventually start moving towards mandatory rules and regulations unless the EPA involves more companies in voluntary programs.

Because of how rapidly they can change, staying on top of and following EPA regulations and policies can be difficult and time consuming. Hiring environmental consultants can help you better understand the latest government trends and regulations, and find quick, cost effective ways to meet them.