Biden rule aims to reduce methane emissions, targeting US oil and gas industry for global warming

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration on Saturday issued a final rule aimed at reducing methane emissions, targeting the U.S. oil and natural gas industry for its role in global warming as President Joe Biden seeks to advance his climate legacy.

The Environmental Protection Agency said the new rule will sharply reduce methane and other harmful air pollutants generated by the oil and gas industry, promote use of cutting-edge methane detection technologies and deliver significant public health benefits in the form of reduced hospital visits, lost school days and even deaths. Air pollution from oil and gas operations can cause cancer, harm the nervous and respiratory systems and contribute to birth defects.

EPA Administrator Michael Regan and White House Climate adviser Ali Zaidi announced the final rule at the United Nations climate conference in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Oil and gas operations are the largest industrial source of methane, the main component in natural gas and far more potent than carbon dioxide in the short term. It is responsible for about one-third of planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions. Sharp cuts in methane emissions are a global priority to slow the rate of climate change and are a major topic at the climate conference, known as COP28.