The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed a new Clean Air Act rule that would expand and strengthen emissions reduction requirements that are currently on the books for new, modified and reconstructed oil and natural gas sources, and would require states to reduce methane emissions from certain sources for the first time. EPA is issuing the proposal in response to President Biden’s January 2021 Executive Order on Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis.

Key features of the proposed rule include:

  • A comprehensive monitoring program for new and existing well sites and compressor stations
  • A compliance option that allowing use of advanced technology that can find major leaks more rapidly and at lower cost
  • A zero-emissions standard for new and existing pneumatic controllers (with a limited alternative standard for sites in Alaska)
  • Standards to eliminate venting of associated gas, and require capture and sale of gas where a sales line is available, at new and existing oil wells
  • Proposed performance standards and presumptive standards for other new and existing sources, including storage tanks, pneumatic pumps, and compressors
  • A requirement that states meaningfully engage with overburdened and underserved communities, among other stakeholders, in developing state plans

EPA also is requesting information on additional sources of methane for the Agency to consider in developing a supplemental proposal to reduce emissions even further.  In addition, EPA is taking comment on how to structure a community monitoring program to detect and report large emission events for appropriate follow-up for possible further development in a supplemental proposal.  EPA intends to issue the supplemental proposal in 2022, and to issue a final rule before the end of 2022. EPA will take comment on the proposed rule for 60 days after it is published in the Federal Register.

For more information, see EPA’s Oil and Natural Gas Air Standards Webpage.