After delay and behind the scenes discussions, the EPA issued the final New Source Performance Standards and New Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants regulations for the oil and gas sector. These federal rules – the first to cover oil and gas exploration and production, including fracking – were the result of a lawsuit by environmental groups.
Generally, the rules will lead to a greater transparency from this industry through required accounting for the numerous sources of emissions that are currently ‘invisible’ due to the lack of regulation. The rules will also provide health benefits to those who live close to the thousands of gas facilities covered by these rules.
Strong enforcement efforts, in combination with this much-needed first step, should better protect the health of families that showed the need for the new rules in the first place.
Agency Takes Important First Step to Protect Air Quality and Public Health
Washington, D.C., April 18—Today environmental groups praised the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) vital updates to nationwide air quality protections to include oil and natural gas production. This is the first federal safeguard aimed at curbing air pollution from hydraulic fracturing or ‘fracking.’
The EPA’s New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) and National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAPS) will benefit the health of Americans and our environment in many ways. The updated standards will result in major reductions in emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), toxic benzene and methane, a highly potent contributor to climate disruption. These pollutants are known to cause asthma attacks, hospital admissions, emergency room visits, cancer and even premature death.
The measure will also benefit the gas industry –EPA projects that capturing more methane and other gasses to send to market will save an estimated $30 million annually.