New York – Regulations to Reduce Methane Emissions

Governor Hochul Announces Release of Final Regulations to Reduce Methane Emissions from Oil and Natural Gas Sector

New Emission Controls at Oil and Natural Gas Wells, Compressor Stations, and Other Sources will Protect Public Health and Combat Climate Change

Supports New York’s Nation-Leading Climate Law to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions

New York (STL.News) Governor Kathy Hochul announced the State has finalized regulations that will require significant reductions in methane and other harmful emissions from any oil and natural gas infrastructure in New York State.  The regulations mark a milestone in realizing the State’s nation-leading clean energy and climate agenda by reducing methane emissions by more than 14,000 metric tons per year and volatile organic compound emissions by over 2,000 tons per year.

“As New York continues our ambitious and historic transition away from fossil fuels, we are committed to reducing emissions from oil and gas infrastructure that are contributing to climate change and impacting the public health of our communities,” Governor Hochul said.  “The finalization of these rules will reduce leakage from New York’s oil and natural gas facilities, and keeps our state at the forefront of climate action.”

The regulations finalized today by the State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) demonstrate New York’s leadership on addressing the climate crisis by regulating and controlling harmful emissions from methane leakage and venting.  Methane is second to carbon dioxide in its contribution to climate change because of its high volume in the atmosphere and strong radiative effects.

DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said, “This announcement demonstrates how states can achieve meaningful reductions in greenhouse gases and help mitigate harmful impacts on public health and our natural resources.  DEC’s dedicated staff are at the forefront of examining the impacts of greenhouse gas emissions from all sectors, including the development of the requirements for fossil fuel infrastructure in the regulations finalized today.  With Governor Hochul’s leadership, New York is advancing a cleaner, greener economy and acting to require the fossil fuel industry to reduce emissions.

In New York State there are 32 permitted compressor stations with 117 compressors, 27 underground natural gas storage sources, and an estimated 3,000 to 4,000 metering stations.  In 2018, 10.6 billion cubic feet of natural gas and 224,717 barrels of oil were extracted from 3,411 active oil wells and 6,729 active gas wells in the state.  The measures finalized today help address methane emissions from the oil and gas sector by reducing the equivalent of more than 1.2 million tons of carbon dioxide, comparable to taking more than 230,000 cars off the road.  The final regulations significantly reduce, and in many instances prohibit, the venting of natural gas to the atmosphere at wells, compressor stations, storage sites, and metering and regulating stations.  In addition, the proposed regulations contain rigorous leak detection and repair requirements for oil and gas infrastructure, as well as requirements for controls and operations.  The final regulations can be found here.

This proposal is New York’s latest step to reduce emissions of methane and other greenhouse gases.  In December 2020, DEC and NYSERDA announced the State’s upcoming use of high-tech aerial surveillance equipment to locate and plug abandoned, decades-old oil and gas wells that leak methane into the environment.  In addition, regulations finalized late last year establish limits requiring that statewide emissions of methane and other greenhouse gases be reduced 40 percent by 2030, 85 percent by 2050, including emissions associated with imported electricity and fossil fuels.

To enforce the regulations, DEC will conduct inspections, assess potential violations, and take appropriate actions to ensure compliance.

In addition, to achieve nationwide emission reductions consistent with this rule, on Jan. 31, DEC submitted comments on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed oil and gas rules recommending these rules be strengthened to incorporate the requirements of New York State’s rule.

New York State’s Nation-Leading Climate Act

New York State’s nation-leading climate agenda is the most aggressive climate and clean energy initiative in the nation, calling for an orderly and just transition to clean energy that creates jobs and continues fostering a green economy as New York State recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic.  Enshrined into law through the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, New York is on a path to achieve its mandated goal of a zero-emission electricity sector by 2040, including 70 percent renewable energy generation by 2030, and to reach economy wide carbon neutrality.  It builds on New York’s unprecedented investments to ramp-up clean energy including over $33 billion in 102 large-scale renewable and transmission projects across the state, $6.8 billion to reduce buildings emissions, $1.8 billion to scale up solar, more than $1 billion for clean transportation initiatives, and over $1.6 billion in NY Green Bank commitments. Combined, these investments are supporting nearly 158,000 jobs in New York’s clean energy sector in 2020, a 2,100 percent growth in the distributed solar sector since 2011 and a commitment to develop 9,000 megawatts of offshore wind by 2035.  Under the Climate Act, New York will build on this progress and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 85 percent from 1990 levels by 2050, while ensuring that at least 35 percent with a goal of 40 percent of the benefits of clean energy investments are directed to disadvantaged communities, and advance progress towards the state’s 2025 energy efficiency target of reducing on-site energy consumption by 185 trillion BTUs of end-use energy savings.

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