This opinion piece presents the opinions of the author.
Even though methane emissions from oil and gas operations have decreased 20 percent since 2008, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Interior recently issued new and more stringent regulations that will make drilling and production more expensive if they can be achieved at all.
Additionally, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) recently issued a report that shows that Texas ozone levels in 2014 either equaled or were lower than the best levels ever measured in most areas of the state.
“Texas’s air quality has made huge strides in the past few decades,” TCEQ wrote in its April issue of Natural Outlook. “Not that long ago, Houston and Los Angeles dueled for the dubious honor of having the worst ozone in the country.”
While emission quality has improved, the EPA has set even more stringent ozone standard of 75 parts per billion (PPB) and has proposed even lower ozone standards in the 65 to 70 ppb range.
“It’s difficult to see how that will be achieved, since NOx emissions have already been drastically reduced, and background levels of ozone entering an area sometime approach or exceed 60 ppb,” TCEQ said.
The oil and gas industry also wonders how it can achieve these extremely low emission goals.
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