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Drillers See Dire Impact at Worst Time in Obama Methane Plan

  • Rules to be proposed to cut leaking from 1 million wells
  • Industry has lost 250,000 jobs since 2014 as prices fell
A hydraulic fracturing (fracking) rig is seen in Weld County, Colorado, U.S., on Thursday, Feb. 4, 2016. The latest version of a draft review of the Environmental Protection Agency's study of the risks to drinking water from hydraulic fracturing calling on the agency to incorporate more information on things like the probability of well failure was posted online Feb. 16 by the agency's Science Advisory Board.
Photographer: Matthew Staver/Bloomberg
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The Obama administration’s decision to crack down on the methane leaking from nearly 1 million oil and gas wells across the country promises to reduce greenhouse gases but also imposes new costs on an industry that’s already reeling.

The administration’s plan, unveiled during Thursday’s summit between President Barack Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, targets reductions of a potent greenhouse gas that pound for pound is 84 times more powerful than carbon dioxide at warming the atmosphere when measured over two decades. Environmentalists cheered the approach, saying the focus on methane delivers big bang for the buck, with a more immediate climate payoff than slashing carbon dioxide from power plants.