On January 14, 2015, the White House announced a new goal to cut methane emissions from the oil and gas sector by 40-45% from 2012 levels by 2025. The plan was outlined in a fact sheet issued by the administration and details a cross-agency effort. According to the plan:

  • The Department of Interior’s Bureau of Land management will update standards on natural gas venting, flaring, and leaks for both new and existing oil and gas wells on public lands in spring 2015.
  • The Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration will propose natural gas pipeline safety standards in 2015.
  • The Department of Energy may be allocated funds to develop and demonstrate more cost-effective technologies to detect and reduce losses from natural gas transmission and distribution systems.
  • EPA will initiate rulemaking to set standards for methane and volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions from new and modified oil and gas production sources, as well as natural gas processing and transmission sources, with a proposed rule in the summer of 2015 and a final rule in 2016.

In conjunction with the White House’s announcement, EPA issued a complementary fact sheet detailing its strategy for reducing methane emissions which is to include both regulatory and voluntary approaches.