President Obama is expected to make a speech on Thursday -- five days before the State of the Union -- on climate change and methane emissions. He is expected to submit plans to help reverse the former and reduce the latter.
John Podesta, counselor to the president, told Reuters that Thursday's speech would also include remarks on fighting global warming.
The Obama administration released a strategy for reducing methane emissions last March (see Daily GPI, March 28, 2014). It assigned responsibility for overseeing the reduction in emissions to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Energy. The plan called for the EPA to assess methane emissions from the oil and gas industry, and for the Interior Department's Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to update venting and flaring standards on public lands.
EPA was busy crafting methane regulations in 2014. In April, the agency released five technical papers on the sources of methane and volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions in the oil and natural gas industry (see Daily GPI, April 15, 2014). The agency unveiled new requirements for the industry in November, calling on it to monitor methane emissions and to report them annually (see Daily GPI, Nov. 17, 2014). The requirements are currently set to take effect on Jan. 1, 2016.
Meanwhile, the Western Governors' Association has advocated working closely with the EPA, BLM and other federal agencies. The group passed a resolution stating that there were economic and environmental benefits to working with the Obama administration on reducing methane emissions (see Daily GPI, Dec. 8, 2014).