DOI Issues New Rule to Curb Methane Emissions

Nov 16, 2016

NASA studies show a massive methane hot spot over the four corners region. It’s thought to be the result of natural gas production, and now the U.S. Department of the Interior has released a new rule to reduce emissions of the greenhouse gas on public and tribal lands. Arizona Public Radio’s Justin Regan reports.

The map shows a methane "hot spot" over the four corners region.
Credit NASA

The Methane Waste and Prevention Rule will require energy producers on public lands to cut gasses that escape from wells by half. Companies will have to inspect operations for leaks and limit venting from storage tanks. Officials say it’ll save money and energy, and could cut U.S. methane emissions by a third. The greenhouse gas is 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide and a major contributor to global warming.

The rule was announced two months before Republican President-elect Donald Trump takes office. He hasn’t commented on the Interior Department’s decision, but has spoken out against other environmental regulations like the Paris Climate Accord and the Environmental Protection Agency’s clean power plan. Interior officials believe, however, the Trump administration will recognize the benefits of the new methane rule.