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EPA May Track Emissions from Oil, Gas, Other Sectors

EPAoil&gasemissionsThe U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to collect emissions data from several additional industries, including the oil and gas sector as well as industries that emit fluorinated gases and facilities that inject and store carbon dioxide underground, as part of the government’s national mandatory greenhouse gas (GHG) reporting system, reports the New York Times.

In addition to the oil and gas sector, other industries impacted by the new proposal include electronics manufacturing, manufacturers of electrical transmission and distribution equipment, fluorinated gas production, and importers and exporters of pre-charged equipment with fluorinated GHGs in closed-cell foams.

The EPA already requires 31 industries, that account for 85 percent of the annual production of U.S. greenhouse gases in the country, to track and report emissions. The mandatory GHG reporting requirement was finalized last year.

The EPA says methane is the primary GHG emitted from oil and natural gas systems and is more than 20 times as potent as CO2 at warming the atmosphere, while fluorinated gases can stay in the atmosphere for thousands of years.

The EPA wants to know how much carbon dioxide is used in oil and gas industry operations and how much escapes into the atmosphere, providing information on how much their industry practices are contributing to global warming, according to environmental advocates, reports the New York Times.

“The public has been left in the dark about methane emissions from the oil and gas industry,” said Pamela Campos, an attorney with the Environmental Defense Fund, in a press release. “EPA’s leadership in requiring disclosure of this potent greenhouse gas will mean more rigorous information and smarter policies to address pollution.”

U.S. oil refiners and industry groups recently made it clear that they are against the EPA regulating their carbon emissions, stating that the agency’s regulations will increase their costs and halt future investments.

By tracking their emissions and comparing them to similar facilities, the EPA expects businesses to develop cost-effective ways to reduce their future emissions.

If the proposal is adopted, the additional industries would begin collecting emissions data next January with their first annual report submitted by March 31, 2012.

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