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Methane Emissions Draw EPA Limits47:25
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The EPA says methane may be more dangerous than CO2 for global warming. Wants to clean up drilling wellheads. There’s a fight on.

In this June 12, 2014 file photo, oil pumps and natural gas burn off in Watford City, N.D. Methane emissions will likely be the next big environmental issue to face North Dakota's booming oil industry according to a top official at the state's Department of Health. (AP)
In this June 12, 2014 file photo, oil pumps and natural gas burn off in Watford City, N.D. Methane emissions will likely be the next big environmental issue to face North Dakota's booming oil industry according to a top official at the state's Department of Health. (AP)

Cows make a lot of it, when they make cow pies. The oil and gas industry makes more. Methane  It’s the gas that escapes and bleeds off of oil and gas drilling sites, wellheads, processing plants, distribution lines. It’s a super global-warmer when it hits the atmosphere – 25 times more potent there than the big global culprit carbon dioxide, CO2. Now the Obama administration, through the EPA, wants to start to rein in that methane leakage from oil and gas production. It’s a big deal at the drilling site, and for the climate. This hour On Point:  putting the plug in methane.
-- Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Amy Harder, energy reporter for The Wall Street Journal. (@amyaharder)

Anthony Marchese, director of the Engines and Energy Conservation Laboratory and professor in the department of mechanical engineering at Colorado State University. Lead author, "Methane Emissions From the United States Natural Gas Gathering and Processing."

Conrad Schneider, advocacy director at the Clean Air Task Force.

Howard Feldman, director of regulatory and scientific affairs at the American Petroleum Institute.

From Tom’s Reading List

The Wall Street Journal: EPA Proposes Cutting Methane Emissions From Oil, Natural-Gas Drilling -- "The Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday proposed rules aimed at cutting methane emissions from oil and gas production by requiring energy companies to install new technologies at future wells. Some industry officials criticized the proposed rules as duplicative, but several companies that produce and transport natural gas said they already were taking such steps voluntarily."

Bloomberg Business: Obama’s Methane Limits Seen Wiping Out the Marginal Driller -- "A proposal by the Obama administration to strengthen methane regulations threatens to wipe out marginal drillers already teetering on the edge of closing because of low oil and natural gas prices, according to Oppenheimer & Co. The proposed rules from the Environmental Protection Agency target for the first time oil wells, compressors and other equipment as part of a broad effort to reduce leaks of methane, a more intense greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, by 40 percent to 45 percent by 2025 from 2012 levels."

Environmental Science and Technology: Methane Emissions from United States Natural Gas Gathering and Processing — "Since 2005, domestic production of natural gas (NG) in the United States has increased by 26%. Much of this increase is a consequence of major new resources that have become accessible for commercial production due to advances in hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling. During this same period, the U.S. has seen an increased demand for NG in the stationary electricity generation and transportation sectors."

Progress On COP21 Paris 2015 Summit

Coral Davenport, energy and environment reporter for the New York Times. (@coralmdavenport)

New York Times: Global Climate Pact Gains Momentum as China, U.S. and Brazil Detail Plans — "Five months before a United Nations summit meeting aimed at forging a historic global accord to cut climate-warming emissions, significant signs of progress toward an agreement are emerging."

This program aired on August 20, 2015.

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