Fracking Rule Proposed for Gas Emissions

Friday, January 16, 2015 @ 05:01 PM gHale

A new rule is in the proposal stage that would require energy companies to report to the federal government all greenhouse gas emissions from oil well fracking operations and natural gas compressor stations and pipelines.

The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program (GHG) currently requires energy companies to report only those emissions from fracking operations that involve flaring — burning off excess natural gas at a well site.

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Scientists called for a more thorough accounting of the energy industry’s greenhouse gas emissions so they can fully understand how oil and gas operations affect climate change. Studies have shown that methane frequently leaks from oil and gas operations, but too little public information exists for researchers to know the specific sources of the emissions.

“These emissions sources are currently not covered by the GHG Reporting Program, and a nationally comprehensive data set of the emissions from the sources the EPA is proposing to include does not currently exist in the public domain,” said EPA spokeswoman Enesta Jones.

The EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program, which has been operating for about four years, requires about 8,000 large industrial greenhouse gas emitters to report their own emissions. The pollution they report represents about 50 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S.

The proposed rule also requires companies to reveal oil well identification information along with emissions data.

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