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Methane Emissions from Natural Gas Operations: EPA’s Continuing, Conscious Overestimate

By Katie Brown -- June 10, 2013

“As long as the EPA continues to rely on assumptions about industry activity that are not, in fact, based on actual industry activity, their estimates for methane emissions will remain wrong. The fact that those assumptions result in inflated emissions estimates makes the agency’s conscious decision not to adjust its methods even more troubling.”

Last month, the EPA released its latest Greenhouse Gas Inventory, in which the agency significantly lowered its estimate of the amount of methane emissions from natural gas systems. But even with those dramatic revisions, EPA still has a long way to go to get this right.

In its fact sheet about its changes to methane emissions estimates, EPA admits that at least some of its prior methods for collecting emissions data were flawed:

The study data show that there is more widespread use of emissions control technologies than had been assumed in the previous Inventory.