The White House on Friday announced a new strategy to reduce emissions of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, from landfills, coal mining, agriculture, and oil and gas production.
This strategy, part of the so-called Climate Action Plan issued by President Barack Obama in June last year with the aim of addressing climate change without legislation from Congress, will take steps to cut methane emissions through "cost-effective voluntary actions and common-sense standards," the White House said in a statement.
"Taking action to curb methane waste and pollution is important because emissions of methane make up nearly 9 percent of all the greenhouse gas emitted as a result of human activity in the United States," the statement said.
"Since 1990, methane pollution in the United States has decreased by 11 percent, even as activities that can produce methane have increased. However, methane pollution is projected to increase to a level equivalent to over 620 million tons of carbon dioxide pollution in 2030 absent additional action to reduce emissions," it said.
According to the White House statement, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will assess several potentially significant sources of methane and other emissions from the oil and gas sector this spring. The EPA will also propose updated standards to reduce methane from new landfills and take public comment on whether to update standards for existing landfills this summer.
Next month, the Interior Department's Bureau of Land Management (BLM) will begin to gather public input on the development of a program for the capture and sale, or disposal, of waste mine methane on lands leased by the federal government. Later this year, the BLM will also propose updated standards to reduce venting and flaring from oil and gas production on public lands.
In June, the Agriculture Department, the Energy Department and the EPA will jointly release a "Biogas Roadmap" outlining voluntary strategies to accelerate adoption of methane digesters and other cost-effective technologies to reduce U.S. dairy sector greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent by 2020, it added.