U.S. Moves to Limit Emissions of Planet-Warming Methane

By Coral Davenport, The New York Times.

The Obama administration on Friday proposed a new rule aimed at curbing emissions of planet-warming methane from oil and gas drilling on public land. It would force companies to use equipment to capture leaked gas and raise the costs they pay for extracting fuel on government property.

The draft regulation, proposed by the Interior Department, is the latest step by President Obama to use his executive authority to clamp down on the fossil fuel emissions that contribute to climate change, and to make it more expensive for oil, gas and coal companies to mine and drill on public land. It follows last week’s controversial move by the Interior Departmentto halt new leases for coal mining on public lands, and to reform the government’s program for leasing federal lands to coal companies with an eye to raising their costs.

It also comes as the administration has particularly targeted emissions of methane, a chemical contained in natural gas that is about 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide. The Obama administration wants to cut methane emissions from the oil and gas sector by 40 to 45 percent from 2012 levels by 2025.