EPA Estimates For Methane Emissions Are Off

The EPA may not have accurately predicted where methane leaks were taking place.
A fracking wastewater impoundment. (Photo: National Energy Technology Laboratory/U.S. Department of Energy.

A fracking wastewater impoundment. (Photo: National Energy Technology Laboratory/U.S. Department of Energy.

By Marissa Higdon

At a hearing of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, researchers said the EPA estimates of the amount of methane emissions leaked into the atmosphere in 2011 were not totally accurate.

The EPA estimated that the oil and gas industries would leak approximately 8.4 million metric tons of methane, which was not that different from the numbers found by the study. Yet, the EPA did not accurately predict where methane leaks were taking place. They predicted that there would be more leakage from the hydraulically fractured wells then there really were, and the EPA predicted that there would be less leakage from equipment leaks than what was actually measured.

This means that the main focus of reducing methane emissions should be equipment leaks not hydraulically fractured well completions, said the General Counsel and President of the V+ Development Solutions Division of Southwestern Energy Company Mark Boling.

“This study shows that the amount of methane emissions form the natural gas production sector can be effectively minimized by applying reasonable emission capture and control practices,” he said.

Dr. Vignesh Gowrishankar, the Staff Scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council said the new data reveals where new, cost effective regulation can be implemented, but Darren Smith, the Environmental Manager of Devon Energy Corporation said the industry will work to reduce methane emissions on its own.

 

About TRNS Washington Desk

View all posts by TRNS Washington Desk
TRNS Washington Desk
News updates from on and around Capitol Hill.

LISTEN: The Weekend Ahead – October 25-27

The Day Ahead Logo

Elections in Tunisia and Brazil, and human rights reviews of Iraq, Iran and Egypt.

LISTEN: The World in 2:00 – October 24, 2014

The World in 2:00 continents logo

Ebola spreads to Mali, the Security Council attempts to strengthen Somalia’s arms embargo and a UN expert on immigration says it’s time for holistic reform.

Issa: CDC Chief Bumbled Ebola Response

Members of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee were critical of Centers For Disease Control and the Department of Homeland Security.

NYC Mayor: New York City Fully Prepared to Handle Ebola

NYC Public Advocate Bill de Blasio. Photo/The office of Public Advocate for the City of New York

A doctor who recently returned from Guinea was diagnosed with Ebola on Thursday at a New York City hospital.

Brownstein: Reducing Methane Emissions Helps Job Growth, Economy

Expanding the methane mitigation industry will help with job growth and protect the environment, according to the Chief Counsel of the U.S. Climate and Energy Program.

UN in Brief: Calm & Conflict for October 24, 2014

UN Daily Brief Square

UN staff returning from West Africa to ‘self-monitor’ for Ebola, human rights expert says immigration debate ‘toxic’ and Somali cargo inspections are approved.