Meeting by a few hours a judicial deadline of July 28, 2011 to propose rules regulating certain air emissions from oil and gas drilling and production, the EPA released proposed rules a few hours ago. See http://www.epa.gov/airquality/oilandgas/actions.html
According to EPA, the proposed rules would require capture of 95% of smog-forming volatile organic compounds from wells that are hydraulic fractured. The reduction would be achieved mainly by capturing gas that now escapes into the atmosphere. EPA claims the rules are "highly cost effective" because the captured gas now lost would be sold and turned into revenues. The rule would further reduce methane emissions from the gas industry and improve more natural gas' lower carbon footprint than coal and oil.
The proposed rules include a new source performance standard for VOCS; one for sulfur dioxide; and air toxics standard for oil and gas production as well as natural gas transmission and storage. See also http://www.epa.gov/airquality/oilandgas/actions.html
The EPA proposed rules require digesting and will be the subject of many comments in the proposed rulemaking. Stay tuned.