Canada proposes methane pollution standards for oil and gas drilling

Canada proposes methane pollution standards for oil and gas drilling
© Greg Nash

Canadian regulators are formally proposing rules to reduce methane pollution from the oil and natural gas sector.

The Thursday announcement from Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna came despite the Trump administration’s actions in the United States to reverse course on methane regulations written by former President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaTrump Jr.: Obama, Bush 'couldn't have done' what my father's done for the American people Decentralized identity standards can solve Facebook's problem Jam-packed primary poses a serious threat to Democrats in 2020 MORE.

Methane is the main component of natural gas and a greenhouse gas about 80 times as potent as carbon dioxide.

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In proposing the rules, McKenna specifically cited the examples of California, Colorado and North Dakota as jurisdictions that Canada wants to emulate on methane regulation.

“By better detecting and patching leaks, companies will be able to save and sell that natural gas and do their part to fight climate change. And this will support more modern technology and good new jobs in the oil and gas sector,” McKenna said in a statement.

“Our government knows that, through innovation and technology, we can reduce emissions while improving the health of Canadians.”

The rules target methane leaks in the drilling process, leaks from equipment, venting unused gas at wells and at compressor stations, among other places.

They came about in part due to an agreement Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made last year with Obama to cut down on methane on both sides of the border.

The U.S. approach included drilling rules by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Bureau of Land Management, new standards for methane emissions from landfills, and more.

Trump administration officials have already begun the process of repealing all of those regulations, citing the difficulty and costs of compliance.