In a May press release, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced official steps they are taking to reduce methane emissions from oil and gas sectors, from both new and already existing sources.
In the oil and gas industries, the EPA has set new standards that will significantly reduce the methane, volatile organic compounds (VOC) such as benzene, and toxic air pollutants that come from new sources, or ones that have been modified or reconstructed. For the already existing sources, the EPA is issuing an Information Collection Request (ICR), which would require companies to submit information that would lead to methods to successfully reduce methane emissions.
“Today, we are underscoring the Administration’s commitment to finding commonsense ways to cut methane — a potent greenhouse gas fueling climate change — and other harmful pollution from the oil and gas sector,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “Together these new actions will protect public health and reduce pollution linked to cancer and other serious health effects while allowing industry to continue to grow and provide a vital source of energy for Americans across the country.”
In the end, the EPA is expecting these standards to reduce 3,900 tons of air toxins, such as benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylene. Each of these toxic air pollutants are linked to cancer and many other types of serious health issues.
In particular, benzene is linked to leukemia. Over time, exposure to this chemical may affect bone marrow and the blood-forming cells, which in turn may damagae white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets. Benzene exposure has not only been linked to leukemia, but also lymphoma.