In a US first, the oil and gas sector will pay fines for excess methane emissions

In a US first, the oil and gas sector will pay fines for excess methane emissions

technology By Jan 12, 2024 No Comments

In a US first, the oil and gas sector will pay fines for excess methane emissions


The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has taken a significant step by imposing fines on oil and gas companies for emitting excess methane. This marks the first federal government tax on Greenhouse gas emissions.

Methane Emissions Reduction Program

As US gas and oil production levels soar, the EPA has introduced the Waste Emissions Charge as part of the Methane Emissions Reduction Program, which falls under the Inflation Reduction Act. This charge aims to prompt fossil fuel companies to rapidly implement available technologies and best practices to reduce methane emissions and other harmful air pollutants.

Climate Impact

Methane, often dubbed a climate “super pollutant,” surpasses carbon dioxide in potency and contributes significantly to global warming. Responsible for approximately one-third of global warming, the reduction of methane emissions presents an urgent and effective measure to combat climate change.

Waste Emissions Charge Details

The Waste Emissions Charge commences at $900 per metric ton of wasteful emissions in 2024 and is set to increase to $1,200 in 2025 and $1,500 for subsequent years. It applies solely to emissions that exceed specified levels established by law.

Incentives and Support

To facilitate the transition to low and non-emitting oil and gas technologies, the US Department of Energy (DOE) plans to allocate over $1 billion from the Inflation Reduction Act. This funding will focus on methane monitoring, emission reduction, and detection and repair of leaks in wells and pipelines.

Accuracy and Verification

The EPA, in collaboration with the fossil fuel industry, is working on enhancing the precision of reported methane emissions. Notably, the current system relies on self-reporting by oil and gas companies without EPA verification, raising concerns about accuracy.

industry Reaction

Unsurprisingly, the fossil fuel sector is challenging the new methane fines, with the American Petroleum Institute swiftly voicing opposition. Meanwhile, EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan emphasizes that the proposal encourages industry innovation and Action through complementary technology standards and historic resources.

Legislative Response

Representative Frank Pallone Jr. (D-NJ) views the Methane Emissions Reduction Program and proposed Waste Emissions Charge as crucial in eliminating the cost burden on consumers for wasted Energy and the associated environmental harm.


The imposition of fines on the oil and gas sector for excess methane emissions signifies a pivotal moment in environmental regulation. With increasing pressure on the industry to reduce emissions and embrace sustainable practices, the push towards cleaner Energy sources gains momentum, heralding a pivotal shift in the fight against climate change.

Michelle Lewis is a writer and editor on Electrek and an editor on DroneDJ, 9to5Mac, and 9to5Google. She lives in White River Junction, Vermont. She has previously worked for Fast Company, the Guardian, News Deeply, Time, and others. Message Michelle on Twitter or at [email protected]. Check out her personal blog. Light, durable, quick: I’ll never go back. Because I don’t want to wait for the Best of British TV.

Source: electrek

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