Methane Emissions, EPA, Federal and State Environmental Policy, Climate Change


Recently, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) took a step-back in regulating the methane released during natural gas extraction. In June 2016, the EPA issued the first federal regulations on methane, estimating methane emissions would decrease by a total of 510,000 short tons in 2025, with a potential net benefit of $160 million. Yet, in October 2018, the EPA released a new proposal that weakened the 2016 methane rules, estimating methane emissions would increase by a total of 380,000 short tons in 2025, with a potential saving of $484 million. This paper explores the EPA’s drastic change between 2016 and 2018 by using a multiple lenses approach to shine a light on different aspects of the methane output problem and policy change. The paper concludes by arguing that the EPA needs to strengthen the role and responsibility of state governments to control methane emissions before finalizing the proposed methane rule.

Publication Date

August 2019



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Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.