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Biden Seeks to Reduce Methane Emissions With New EPA Rules, Global Methane Pledge at COP26

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​Methane flames from a flaring pit.
Methane flames from a flaring pit near a well in the Bakken oil field on Oct. 18, 2011. Orjan F. Ellingvag / Corbis via Getty Images

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced new rules to sharply curtail methane emissions from oil and gas wells today, as the U.S. and the EU are due to formally unveil the Global Methane Pledge at COP26.


The rules on existing and new operations will impose more frequent and strict leak monitoring at compressor stations and gas-fired pneumatic controllers, and require the capture of gas vented or flared as a byproduct of oil extraction.

"All told, the estimate is that about 75% of all methane emissions will be covered by this EPA rule," a senior administration official told reporters.

The Department of Interior also announced new rules on emissions on public lands, and the Department of Transportation issued new PHMSA rules for all onshore gas gathering pipelines.

The flurry of rulemaking comes just ahead of the formal announcement of the U.S.- and EU-led Global Methane Pledge later Tuesday in Glasgow, where President Biden and other world leaders will announce that at least 90 countries have committed to reducing worldwide methane emissions by 30% by 2030, a list that covers roughly two-thirds of global GDP and half of methane emissions, including Brazil, the world's fifth-largest emitter of methane.

For a deeper dive:

EPA: The Washington Post, CNN, The Wall Street Journal, AP, Reuters, POLITICO Pro, The New York Times; Pledge: Reuters, The Guardian, Bloomberg, Bloomberg

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