New Ruling to Slash Methane Emissions

by Elizabeth Alford on August 19, 2015

New federal regulations designed to cut methane emissions in the oil and gas industry may soon be the law of the land if the Obama administration has its way.

Related: Federal Fracking Rule on Hold

President Obama revealed a plan this week that would cut emissions of carbon dioxide by 32 percent from 2005 levels by 2030. Oil and gas companies would be required to cut methane pollution from drilling sites, distribution systems and in other areas of operation. This ruling is part of the President’s broad and aggressive plan to fight climate change, and many believe it would literally transform the energy industry.

Oil and gas producers are already fatigued from months of low crude prices and new regulations may be more than most can handle. The EPA estimates that the ruling might cost the industry as much as $420 million.

Critics charged the administration with wanting to sabotage the industry and the jobs it has created.

Rep. Rob Bishop, who chairs the House Natural Resources Committee, said the rule “is another unprecedented attack” on energy production. “The EPA’s plan to limit emissions flies in the face of technological reality,” he said. “The truth is that while the oil and natural gas industry has greatly increased production on state and private lands, methane emissions have actually fallen.”

Methane is the key component of natural gas and has a high impact on global warming — up to 25 times that of carbon dioxide. In April, a nationwide study showed that methane emissions across the United States had dropped significantly in the past two decades and are much lower than current Environmental Protection Agency estimates. Read more

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