The White House said Wednesday morning that it wants to drop the oil and gas industry’s methane emissions 40% to 45% from 2012 levels in the next decade.
The Obama administration posted a fact sheet to WhiteHouse.gov detailing its commitment to creating a more sustainable planet with steps for achieving the lofty goals. Some rely on strong communications.
- Proposing and setting commonsense standards for methane and ozone-forming emissions from new and modified sources;
- Guidelines to reduce volatile organic compounds;
- Considering enhancing leak-detection and emissions reporting;
- Leading by example on public lands;
- Reducing methane emissions while improving pipeline safety;
- Driving technology to reduce natural gas losses and improve emissions quantification;
- Modernizing natural gas transmission and distribution infrastructure;
- Releasing a quadrennial energy review;
The goals build upon standards the Environmental Protection Agency laid out in 2012 for "volatile organic compounds" from the oil and natural gas sector. It added that if implemented, the measures could drop "methane emissions in an amount equivalent to 33 million tons of carbon pollution per year," according to the fact sheet.
According to The Washington Post, which spoke with US officials on Tuesday about details of the plan, stricter rules could "prevent billions of cubic feet of gas from escaping into the atmosphere from drilling rigs and leaking pipes over the next decade," and would officially take hold by 2016.
On social media, some sought hard numbers to frame the White House’s announcement.
A mountaintop sensor has found that L.A. Basin methane emissions are up to 61% higher than government estimates: http://t.co/slx9r3DVG2— Los Angeles Times (@latimes) January 14, 2015
That effort was joined by a range of environmental groups, such as the Sierra Club, the National Wildlife Federation, Audubon, and the Environmental Defense Fund, which hosted more than 300 events in 36 states.