However, small oil and gas producers fear the new rules will create onerous burdens that will bankrupt them.
The proposed regulations could take time to put in place, are likely to face legal challenges and could be overturned by a future administration, observers say.
“When a president tries to use unilateral executive powers, there are immediately a series of obstacles,” said Barry Rabe, professor of environmental policy at the University of Michigan. “It won’t be an easy transition.
In addition to reducing greenhouse gases, regulating methane will protect public health, EPA officials said.
When methane is released into the atmosphere, it is often accompanied by dangerous chemicals like benzene and hydrogen sulfide. Exposure to these pollutants has been linked to serious health problems, including asthma and cancer.
Sue Franklin knows the effects firsthand. She and her husband, Jim, lived in the West Texas town of Verhalen, where oil and gas drilling operations took off around 2014.
Gas escaped from two new wells and gave the couple headaches, nosebleeds and asthma attacks.
The Franklin’s eventually moved about 40 miles, but Ms Franklin, 70, said she feared she would have breathing problems for the rest of her life.