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Saturday, July 30, 2011

EPA plans new air quality regs for oil and gas drilling

SUMMIT COUNTY — A proposed new set of EPA air quality regulations would dramatically reduce impacts from energy development by requiring the capture of 95 percent of harmful smog-forming emissions from oil and gas drilling operations.

The proposal includes the review of four rules for the oil and natural gas industry: a new source performance standard for VOCs; a new source performance standard for sulfur dioxide; an air toxics standard for oil and natural gas production; and an air toxics standard for natural gas transmission and storage.

According to the EPA, the new rules are based on proven technologies that are already in use today. The agency says the reductions can be achieved by capturing natural gas that currently escapes into the air, and making that gas available for sale. The rules also would reduce emissions of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, and air toxics, which are known or suspected of causing cancer and other serious health effects.

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