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Will 2019 be the year Virginia cracks down on methane emissions?

PHOTO BY Jim Pierobon / Southeast Energy News

WRITTEN BYMason Adams

A task force is expected to propose new regulations to limit leaks from landfills and natural gas infrastructure.

An Atlantic Coast Pipeline compressor station before Virginia regulators could be the first to face tougher standards amid heightened scrutiny of methane leaks in the state.

The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality’s draft permit for a compressor station in Buckingham County includes a requirement for inclusion of a vent gas reduction system the agency claims will cut methane emissions by more than 99 percent due to reduced venting of natural gas.

If approved by the State Air Pollution Control Board, this would mark the first time the department has issued a permit requiring the methane-reduction technology. It looks to be a sign of more regulation to come.

As high-profile battles over the Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley pipelines rage, Virginia has quietly moved to begin regulating greenhouse gases — including methane emissions — more tightly.

In September, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam announced a series of initiatives to combat climate change, including the creation of a task force that will look at methane emissions from natural gas infrastructure and landfills and likely recommend new state regulations.

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