Sunday, March 13, 2016

Methane crackdown at heart of 'historic' U.S.-Canada pact

Amanda Reilly, E&E reporter

U.S. EPA plans to regulate methane from existing oil and gas operations under a U.S.-Canada climate agreement announced today.

Marking the start of a White House visit by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the Obama administration also rolled out a partnership to address climate impacts in the Arctic and vowed to accelerate efforts to shape long-term greenhouse gas reduction strategies under the Paris climate change agreement. The nations also pledged to expand renewable energy and to align energy efficiency standards.

At a White House news conference, President Obama said major developed countries must take leadership roles on global warming....

The announcement on methane is controversial. The oil and gas industry, which believes voluntary actions are sufficient to address its emissions, pushed back against the agreement and warned that it would halt the development of U.S. shale resources.

The American Petroleum Institute said the Obama administration was "catering to environmental extremists" and didn't rule out legal action.

"We don't have a dollar figure, but we can only assume that the economic impacts of regulating existing wells is going to be massive," said Kyle Isakower, API's vice president of regulatory and economic policy.

Environmentalists and Democratic lawmakers -- both of whom have been calling on the administration for months to tackle existing oil and gas operations -- applauded the agreement as a big step forward for addressing climate change.

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