WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Environmental Protection Agency announced final standards for oil and natural gas drilling today that it said will reduce smog and provide responsible production.

In response to a court deadline, EPA finalized standards to reduce harmful air pollution associated with oil and natural gas production.

The updated standards, required by the Clean Air Act, were informed by feedback from a range of interest groups and industry.

The final standards reduce implementation costs while ensuring they are achievable and can be met by proven technologies and processes already in use at approximately half of the fractured natural gas wells in the United States, EPA said.

Technologies will reduce 95 percent of harmful emissions from wells that contribute to smog and lead to health impacts and will enable companies to collect additional natural gas to be sold, EPA said.

Natural gas is a key component of the nation's clean energy future and standards released today ensure production can be expanded while reducing impacts to public health, EPA said.

-- Dan Wheat

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