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The Biden administration said it had finalised rules aimed at limiting methane leaks from oil and gas drilling on public lands.
The policy complements efforts at other federal agencies to reduce emissions of methane, a potent greenhouse gas that tends to leak from drill sites and pipelines and contributes to climate change.
Nearly a tenth of US oil and gas production takes place on federal lands, primarily in Western states like New Mexico and Wyoming.
The rules require oil and gas drillers to develop plans to detect leaks, make repairs and minimise waste. They must also pay royalties for natural gas lost through flaring or venting if those losses are considered to have been avoidable.
The Interior Department said the rule would conserve billions of cubic feet of gas that otherwise might have been vented, flared or leaked, generating more than $50 million in additional royalty payments to the federal government each year.
"This final rule, which updates 40-year-old regulations, furthers the Biden-Harris administration's goals to prevent waste, protect our environment, and ensure a fair return to American taxpayers," Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said in a statement.
The new rules follow years of legal wrangling over methane regulations crafted by former President Barack Obama's administration. The regulation from Interior's Bureau of Land Management (BLM) focuses on waste prevention, an area over which it has legal authority.
Oil and gas industry trade group American Petroleum Institute (API) said it was reviewing the rule to consider whether BLM had overstepped its authority.
"API supports a smart regulatory framework for reducing methane emissions, but overlapping regulations and lack of coordination between policymakers could hinder progress, create unnecessary barriers to development on federal lands and result in regulatory incoherence," API vice president of upstream policy, Holly Hopkins, said in a statement.
Environmental groups welcomed the new policy.
"Taking action to limit methane waste on public lands offers a win-win-win for taxpayers, producers and communities harmed by this waste and associated pollution," Jon Goldstein, senior director of regulatory and legislative affairs at Environmental Defense Fund said in a statement. -Reuters