The rules would also amend existing regulations and be applicable throughout the oil and natural gas industry, including in production, processing, transmission and storage, the EPA said.
The rules, which would apply only to new and modified gas wells, were first outlined in January by the White House. They follow an announcement earlier this month of regulations forcing power plants to lower carbon-dioxide emissions by 32 percent from 2005 levels by 2030.
Both gases contribute to global warming, but methane’s global-warming potential (the amount of heat trapped by a specific amount of mass) is more than 25 times greater than that of CO2, the EPA says. The oil and gas industry was responsible for about 30 percent of methane emissions in the U.S. in 2012.
“Today, through our cost-effective proposed standards, we are underscoring our commitment to reducing the pollution fueling climate change and protecting public health while supporting responsible energy development, transparency and accountability," EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said in a statement Tuesday.