Washington—Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer (both D-Calif.) yesterday sent a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy urging the agency to act upon lessons learned in its investigation of the ongoing natural gas leak near Porter Ranch, Calif. as it finalizes its rule on new methane sources in the oil and gas industry.
In August, EPA proposed the first federal standards for methane, which accounts for 10 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. The senators’ comment letter seeks strong provisions for preventing major gas leaks, in addition to chronic leakage.
“We urge you to include requirements focused on preventing sudden, unusually large natural gas discharges like the one ongoing at the Aliso Canyon storage facility,” the senators wrote.
“In the past three months, the Aliso Canyon leak has released millions of pounds of methane, dramatically increasing the statewide emission of this potent greenhouse gas and disrupting the lives of thousands of Californians. Stringent requirements for leak detection and shutoff capabilities could prevent such a disaster at new storage facilities, while also curbing chronic leakage in the natural gas production and transmission systems.”
The letter also seeks an additional strong rule for existing sources of methane; the rule currently under consideration is only for new and modified emission sources.
“Studies indicate that nearly 90 percent of methane emissions in 2018 will come from sources that already exist,” the senators wrote. “We encourage you to begin a rulemaking as soon as possible to bring those existing sources into the regulatory framework you are founding now.”
The full text of the letter can be found here.