The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Friday took steps to gather input for a proposed rule to reduce methane and other pollutants from new and existing sources in the oil and natural gas industry.
The “broad public outreach effort” would include community and stakeholder input. Among other things, EPA is planning listening sessions and opening a public docket for pre-proposal comments.
“As we move forward to reduce pollution from oil and gas operations, it is vitally important to hear from all stakeholders, including those from impacted communities and industry,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “This process enables EPA to engage with communities that have historically borne a disproportionate burden from pollution so that we can ensure those voices are reflected in our policymaking.”
The actions follow President Biden’s executive orders (EO), which were issued in January. The Senate in April also cleared the way for stricter regulations for oil and natural gas operations after passing a resolution to undo the Trump administration’s rollback of methane emissions standards.
EPA noted that President Biden’s EO, “Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis,” called on the agency to consider issuing a proposed rule by September to strengthen standards for methane emissions from new, reconstructed, and modified oil and natural gas sources and to address methane emissions from existing sources.
To begin, EPA is holding training webinars on May 25-27 for communities, Tribes and small businesses to provide an overview of the oil and natural gas industry and share information to engage in the regulatory process.
Virtual public listening sessions are scheduled for June 15-17 to allow registered members of the public to provide comments on the industry “as it relates to climate change, health and EPA’s upcoming proposed rule.” EPA also opened a docket for people to comment.
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