Searching for an update on the latest oil and natural gas pollution standards from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)?

The EPA has issued cost-effective rules to decrease the levels of harmful air pollution in the oil and natural gas industry, while permitting the responsible growth of U.S. oil and natural gas production. The final regulations are based on proven technologies and established best practices that are put in place to limit emissions of smog-forming volatile organic compounds (VOCs), a group of chemicals that add to the formation of ground-level ozone or smog.

New Rules Designed to Make an Impact

In total, the final regulations are predicted to produce a nearly 95 percent decrease in VOC emissions annually, from a total of more than 11,000 new hydraulically fractured gas wells. This huge drop would be achieved mainly by capturing natural gas that presently escapes into the air and making it available for purchase. The new rules will also decrease air toxins that are known or suspected to cause cancer and other serious health problems, and emissions of the potent greenhouse gas, methane.

The final step includes reviewing the following four rules in place for the oil and gas industry:

  1. A new source performance standard for VOCs
  2. A new source performance standard for sulfur dioxide
  3. An air toxics standard for oil and natural gas production
  4. An air toxics standard for natural gas transmission and storage

A Look at the Oil and Natural Gas Industry

The oil and natural gas industry is very broad, encompassing a wide-variety of operations and equipment, including wells, natural gas lines, processing facilities, storage tanks, transmission and distribution pipelines and more. As a whole, the industry is the largest industrial source of emissions of VOCs. Exposure to the ozone has been associated with a plethora of adverse health effects, including asthma, increased emergency room visits and hospital admissions and premature death.

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