Drillers in the heavily fracked Buckeye State will now have to do more to find and fix leaks in their systems, part of the latest initiative to crack down on climate-changing methane pollution. The Akron Beacon Journal reports:
Ohio on Friday tightened its rules on air emissions from natural gas-oil drilling at horizontal wells. …
Drilling companies now are required to perform regular inspections to pinpoint any equipment leaks and seal them quickly.
Such leaks can contribute to air pollution with unhealthy ozone, add to global warming and represent lost or wasted energy. Fugitive emissions can account for 1 to 8 percent of methane from an individual well, according to some studies. …
The revised rules — in development for more than a year — were released by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and go into effect immediately, officials said.
Environmentalists cheered the new rules, which closely followed a crackdown on fugitive methane emissions in Colorado, and a similar proposal from the Obama administration. And Wyoming recently introduced methane pollution rules for new or expanded fracking and other natural gas-related operations.
“It’s essential we maintain an unblinking vigilance in driving down harmful emissions,” said Fred Krupp, president of the Environmental Defense Fund, which has drawn criticism from other environmental groups in recent years for partnering with fracking companies to study and attempt to address harms associated with the drilling practice.
“There are parts of the policy we would have written differently,” said EDF’s Matt Watson, “but this unquestionably puts Ohio among the national leaders in tackling fugitive emissions.”