No one should expect large numbers of U.S. natural gas producers to adopt voluntary methane emission limits, warns Tom Michels, who leads the organization responsible for encouraging the companies to step up.
“Right now I will say that market forces kind of militate against a ton of people jumping-up to be proactive,” said Tom Michels, executive director of One Future, the industry’s own advocate for self-regulation.
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“The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has designated One Future to lead the industry’s attempt to reduce methane emissions from gas production, processing, transmission and distribution in the agency’s expanded Methane Challenge program,” Reuters reports. “But only eight companies are currently signed up with One Future,” out of nearly 8,000 producers.
With low oil prices pushing many shale operators to the brink of bankruptcy, Michel told Volcovici, decision-makers are leery about “taking on commitments that they don’t have to.” Now, in the wake of the Aliso Canyon natural gas disaster, “environmental groups are demanding that the EPA tighten regulations on methane emissions rather than relying on the industry to voluntarily stanch escaping gas,” she writes.