By Valerie Volcovici
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - In its latest move to combat climate change, the Obama administration on Friday said it will overhaul 30-year-old regulations for oil and gas operations on public and tribal lands to limit the "wasteful release" of natural gas and curb methane emissions.
The proposal would require oil and gas producers to use currently available technology to limit flaring at oil wells on federal land. It would also require operators to regularly check for natural gas leaks and replace outdated equipment that allows large quantities of gas to escape into the air.
The overhaul would also clarify when oil and gas companies need to pay royalties on flared natural gas.
"These updated regulations, which would be phased in over several years ... would not only get more of our nation’s natural gas into pipelines and delivered to market but also reduce pollution and cut greenhouse gas emissions that are contributing to climate change," Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management Janice Schneider said.
(Reporting by Valerie Volcovici; Editing by Susan Heavey)