Environmental Protection Agency chief Gina McCarthyGina McCarthyObama EPA chief: Pruitt must uphold ‘law and science’ Overnight Energy: Congress does away with Obama coal mining rule GOP suspends rules to push through EPA pick despite Dem boycott MORE on Tuesday stressed the need for industry to tamp down on methane leaks and flaring.
While taking steps to capture methane would help combat climate change, it would also make companies more profitable, McCarthy argued at an energy conference.
"This makes good economic sense and is essential if we want to get serious about climate change," McCarthy said.
Earlier this year, the administration released a methane strategy that directed agencies to research ways to tackle emissions. Since then, the EPA has published several white papers on mitigation efforts, but remains quiet on whether it will formally propose regulations to reign in emissions from hydraulic fracturing for natural gas.
McCarthy hinted that such regulations could be issued under the same section of the Clean Air Act that was used to propose the agency's carbon pollution rules for existing power plants.
"We are looking at the most cost-effective targeted regulatory, and or voluntary initiatives that we may be able to put on the table that significantly take a chunk out of methane emissions in the oil and gas sector," McCarthy said.
If the EPA plans to propose regulations on methane emissions, it would need to move quickly in order to finalize the rule before President Obama leaves office.