Strict Methane-Leak Guidelines Approved For California

RIVERSIDE (CBSLA.com/AP) — California air regulators have adopted a new strategy for curbing methane leaks from oil and gas facilities.

The California Air Resources Board said in a statement Thursday night that the new guidelines are the most comprehensive of their kind in the country, and come as the Donald Trump administration has backed away from pushing federal rules on methane.

Methane has 72 times the impact on global warming as carbon dioxide, according to agency. The new regulation is expected to reduce methane leaks from gas operations in California, where the oil and gas industry’s methane emissions is second only to livestock.

“The Trump administration has backed away from efforts to develop a federal rule to curb methane leaks from existing facilities—the nation’s largest source of methane pollution,” CARB Chair Mary D. Nichols said in a statement. “California’s regulations continue our leadership in fighting air pollutants and help meet our goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030.”

Other government agencies will need to fill in the details, but the board voted for quarterly monitoring of methane emissions from oil and gas wells and processing facilities, and will require new vapor-collection equipment.

They say the new rules will add to the emergency regulations already instituted after the massive leak last year at the Aliso Canyon natural gas field in Porter Ranch. That leak forced the temporary relocation of hundreds of families, who said they suffered myriad medical ailments because of the leak, including headaches, nosebleeds and other serious symptoms.

(Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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