White House Initiative to Tackle Methane Emissions: New Regulations, Funding Opportunities Expected

by Cozen O'Connor

On March 28, the White House announced a set of new policy initiatives to reduce emissions of methane, a greenhouse gas (GHG) 20 times more powerful than carbon dioxide. The Climate Action Plan—Strategy to Reduce Methane Emissions (Methane Plan) (available here) outlines the administration’s plans for new regulations, voluntary efforts and measurement technology to reduce and track methane emissions . Methane comprises about 9 percent of all GHG emissions. Data suggest that methane — the primary constituent of natural gas — has significant potential for cost-effective recovery because it is a vital energy source and prevention of uncontrolled methane emissions thus has value beyond merely preventing global warming. According to the administration’s plan, while methane emissions have decreased 11 percent since 1990, more efforts are needed because uncontrolled methane emissions are expected to increase in the coming years. The Methane Plan identifies agriculture as the single largest emitter of methane at 36 percent, followed by natural gas systems at 23 percent, landfills at 18 percent, coal mines at 10 percent, petroleum systems at 6 percent and wastewater treatment at 2 percent. The top three sources — natural gas systems, agriculture and landfills — comprise nearly 80 percent of anthropogenic methane emissions. The Methane Plan identifies a series of actions over the next two years to reduce emissions.

Natural Gas Systems: The administration is likely to pursue a major new regulatory initiative to reduce methane emissions from the oil and gas sector. EPA estimates that 34 percent of total methane emissions from the sector come from transmission and storage, 31 percent from production, 20 percent from distribution and 15 percent from processing. The new initiative will begin in the spring of this year with a scientific assessment of methane sources within the sector followed by a series of EPA regulatory white papers in the fall of 2014. New regulations will be completed by the end of 2016, and likely will focus on oil and co-producing wells, liquids unloading, leaks, pneumatic devices and compressors. The EPA also will continue voluntary efforts to reduce methane emissions through the Natural Gas STAR program. Finally, the administration is proposing a new $4.7 million DOE program to identify technologies to detect, monitor and repair methane leakage from pipelines and compressors, advanced pipeline inspection technologies. The White House is calling for greater investment in cost-effective methane measurement technology to improve the accuracy of data. The DOE’s ARPA-E program will focus future funding rounds upon technologies that can reduce the cost of methane sensing, perceived to be a barrier to measurement of methane releases throughout natural gas systems.

Landfills: The EPA will propose new standards in the summer of 2014 for newly constructed landfills and will consider ratcheting-down standards for existing landfills, which were issued in the mid-1990’s under Section 111 of the Clean Air Act. The EPA also will continue to promote landfill gas-to-energy projects and reduction and recovery of food waste.

Agriculture: The EPA is not proposing new regulations for the agriculture sector but will produce a “Biogas Roadmap” in June 2014, to encourage dairy farmers to use methane digesters. Financial assistance for farmers to install digesters also will continue through various USDA programs.


DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Cozen O'Connor | Attorney Advertising

Written by:

Cozen O'Connor

Cozen O'Connor on:

Readers' Choice 2017
Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:
Sign up using*

Already signed up? Log in here

*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.
Custom Email Digest
Privacy Policy (Updated: October 8, 2015):

JD Supra provides users with access to its legal industry publishing services (the "Service") through its website (the "Website") as well as through other sources. Our policies with regard to data collection and use of personal information of users of the Service, regardless of the manner in which users access the Service, and visitors to the Website are set forth in this statement ("Policy"). By using the Service, you signify your acceptance of this Policy.

Information Collection and Use by JD Supra

JD Supra collects users' names, companies, titles, e-mail address and industry. JD Supra also tracks the pages that users visit, logs IP addresses and aggregates non-personally identifiable user data and browser type. This data is gathered using cookies and other technologies.

The information and data collected is used to authenticate users and to send notifications relating to the Service, including email alerts to which users have subscribed; to manage the Service and Website, to improve the Service and to customize the user's experience. This information is also provided to the authors of the content to give them insight into their readership and help them to improve their content, so that it is most useful for our users.

JD Supra does not sell, rent or otherwise provide your details to third parties, other than to the authors of the content on JD Supra.

If you prefer not to enable cookies, you may change your browser settings to disable cookies; however, please note that rejecting cookies while visiting the Website may result in certain parts of the Website not operating correctly or as efficiently as if cookies were allowed.

Email Choice/Opt-out

Users who opt in to receive emails may choose to no longer receive e-mail updates and newsletters by selecting the "opt-out of future email" option in the email they receive from JD Supra or in their JD Supra account management screen.


JD Supra takes reasonable precautions to insure that user information is kept private. We restrict access to user information to those individuals who reasonably need access to perform their job functions, such as our third party email service, customer service personnel and technical staff. However, please note that no method of transmitting or storing data is completely secure and we cannot guarantee the security of user information. Unauthorized entry or use, hardware or software failure, and other factors may compromise the security of user information at any time.

If you have reason to believe that your interaction with us is no longer secure, you must immediately notify us of the problem by contacting us at info@jdsupra.com. In the unlikely event that we believe that the security of your user information in our possession or control may have been compromised, we may seek to notify you of that development and, if so, will endeavor to do so as promptly as practicable under the circumstances.

Sharing and Disclosure of Information JD Supra Collects

Except as otherwise described in this privacy statement, JD Supra will not disclose personal information to any third party unless we believe that disclosure is necessary to: (1) comply with applicable laws; (2) respond to governmental inquiries or requests; (3) comply with valid legal process; (4) protect the rights, privacy, safety or property of JD Supra, users of the Service, Website visitors or the public; (5) permit us to pursue available remedies or limit the damages that we may sustain; and (6) enforce our Terms & Conditions of Use.

In the event there is a change in the corporate structure of JD Supra such as, but not limited to, merger, consolidation, sale, liquidation or transfer of substantial assets, JD Supra may, in its sole discretion, transfer, sell or assign information collected on and through the Service to one or more affiliated or unaffiliated third parties.

Links to Other Websites

This Website and the Service may contain links to other websites. The operator of such other websites may collect information about you, including through cookies or other technologies. If you are using the Service through the Website and link to another site, you will leave the Website and this Policy will not apply to your use of and activity on those other sites. We encourage you to read the legal notices posted on those sites, including their privacy policies. We shall have no responsibility or liability for your visitation to, and the data collection and use practices of, such other sites. This Policy applies solely to the information collected in connection with your use of this Website and does not apply to any practices conducted offline or in connection with any other websites.

Changes in Our Privacy Policy

We reserve the right to change this Policy at any time. Please refer to the date at the top of this page to determine when this Policy was last revised. Any changes to our privacy policy will become effective upon posting of the revised policy on the Website. By continuing to use the Service or Website following such changes, you will be deemed to have agreed to such changes. If you do not agree with the terms of this Policy, as it may be amended from time to time, in whole or part, please do not continue using the Service or the Website.

Contacting JD Supra

If you have any questions about this privacy statement, the practices of this site, your dealings with this Web site, or if you would like to change any of the information you have provided to us, please contact us at: info@jdsupra.com.

- hide
*With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name. Or, sign up using your email address.