EPA: US Climate Plan Also Addressing Agricultural Methane Emissions

The Obama administration’s Climate Action Plan will not only target reducing methane emissions from the oil and gas industry, but methane emissions from agriculture as well.

Results of a recently published study indicate that farming, not hydraulic fracturing, was behind the rise of methane emissions since 2007. Rigzone reached out to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to see what role that methane emissions from agriculture could be playing in U.S. methane emissions.

Agricultural activity in the United States accounts for about one-quarter of total U.S. methane emissions, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) told Rigzone in an email statement. According to the EPA’s website, methane emissions from natural gas and petroleum systems account for 29 percent of U.S. methane emissions.

Reducing methane is a key component of the president’s Climate Action Plan, and biogas recovery, including anaerobic digestion for livestock manure, plays an important role in the plan’s strategy to reduce methane emissions, the EPA said.

Under the methane strategy, federal partners have developed a biogas roadmap to identify voluntary actions to promote biogas recovery and use, and near-term steps that federal agencies can take to address current barriers, the EPA said.

“EPA has committed to continue working with federal partners such as the Department of Energy and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and other stakeholders, including state and regional partners, to promote biogas recovery through our current voluntary partnership programs,” the EPA told Rigzone. “These include the AgSTAR program, the Biogas and Biodigesters Workgroup, the Combined Heat and Power Partnership, and the Landfill Methane Outreach Program.”

EPA recently finalized the voluntary Natural Gas STAR Methane Challenge Program Best Management Practice Commitment Framework, which will provide a new mechanism through which oil and gas companies can make and track ambitious commitments to reduce methane emissions, according to EPA’s website. Details of the program are available here.


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