EPA Moves to Limit Methane Emissions

fracking operationsThe Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) unveiled its proposed regulations intended to slash methane emissions from oil and gas production by almost half.

The proposal is part of the Obama administration’s ongoing efforts to curb global warming by reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

In a statement, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said, “Today, through our cost-effective proposed standards, we are underscoring our commitment to reducing the pollution fueling climate change.”

EPA’s proposal would limit emissions from new or modified natural gas wells by requiring energy producers to find and repair leaks at oil and gas wells and capture gas escaping from wells that use fracking. The rules would not apply to existing wells, which number in the thousands.

The Obama administration has set an overall target of cutting methane emissions from the energy sector by 40–45 percent by 2025, compared to 2012 levels. EPA estimates these rules will cost industry between $320 million and $420 million to comply with in 2025.

‘Unnecessary and Counterproductive’

The proposal is expected to face fierce opposition from lawmakers and energy groups who argue the rules are unnecessary and will hamper the energy revolution, which they say has been one of the nation’s few success stories since the Great Recession ended in 2009.

“The EPA’s plan to limit emissions flies in the face of technological reality,” said House Committee on Natural Resources Chairman Rob Bishop (R-UT) in a statement. “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. The Obama Administration continues to prioritize the fantasies of the environmental Left over American energy security and economic growth.”

“According to EPA estimates, only 1.5 percent of methane is lost during the life cycle of natural gas production,” said Isaac Orr, a research fellow at The Heartland Institute, which publishes Environment & Climate News.

Gary Stone, vice president of engineering for FiveStates Energy, a Dallas-based oil and gas company, says the new rules are unnecessary because companies strive to keep methane from escaping.

“Methane is the primary component of natural gas,” said Stone. “Every cubic foot of methane that escapes into the atmosphere is a cubic foot of gas that could have been sold. Companies have every financial reason to retain that gas if at all possible, especially in this low-price environment. To think they would ignore this fact or to believe more government regulations will save money and help the situation is ludicrous.

“The EPA admits the industry has voluntarily reduced emissions through technology and developments in production techniques by 16 percent since 1990,” Stone said.

In a statement, Jack Gerard, president of the American Petroleum Institute, echoed Stone’s view.

“The oil and gas industry is leading the charge in reducing methane,” said Gerard. “The last thing we need is more duplicative and costly regulation that could increase the cost of energy for Americans.”

Only ‘a Good Start’?

In an interview with Fox News on August 18, David Doniger, director of climate policy for the environmental activist group Natural Resources Defense Council, called the new regulations “a good start” and said the EPA “needs to follow up by setting methane leakage standards for existing oil and gas operations nationwide.”

Additional regulations appear to be on the way. In the August 18 conference call announcing the methane regulations, Janet McCabe, acting assistant administrator for EPA, said the current regulations would cut methane emissions by only 20–30 percent by 2025.

Despite repeated questions from reporters, McCabe refused to specify where the remaining reductions would come from.

“What I am saying is that as we move forward, additional opportunities will be identified in order to get to the goal,” McCabe told the press.

Stone says the proposed regulations are part of a series of ongoing attempts by the Obama administration to promote climate alarmist policies.

“EPA’s proposed rules to limit methane emissions … released by drilling and production operations are but another salvo in the current administration’s war on fossil fuels in general and the U.S. oil and gas industry in particular,” said Stone. “[These rules are based on] the same bogus Chicken Little lies told about the mythical manmade global warming beast: Man caused [Earth to warm], drastic action and taxpayer money are needed, and we’re the only ones smart enough to do anything.”

Orr says the new methane rules are politically motivated.

“This isn’t about stopping climate change; it’s about President [Barack] Obama’s climate change legacy,” Orr said. “There is an important distinction.

“The fact of the matter is these regulations will yield no tangible climate benefit,” Orr said.

The Obama administration is expected to finalize the rules in 2016 after a public consultation period.

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Comments (25)

  • Avatar

    JayPee

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    Important to move quickly while the imposter is still in the oval orifice.

    Reply

  • Avatar

    Amber

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    Unilateral edicts from a departing President that circumvents Congress are much easier to undue when the process is reversed and then legislated to never be allowed to occur again .

    Now there is a real legacy .

    Reply

  • Avatar

    Charles Higley

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    As the half-life of methane in the atmosphere is the same as for CO2, about 5 years, all emissions are transient and not worth worrying about. Furthermore, even though methane is 20 -fold better as a “greenhouse gas” than CO2, it is 1/400th of CO2’s concentration in the atmosphere. It is impossible for methane emission regulations to have any detectable effects when it’s “greenhouse gas” ability is 0.05 that of CO2 and we cannot detect any effect by CO2.

    The argument can also be made that, as the “greenhouse gas” effect involves an atmosphere supposedly warming the Earth’s surface and since the atmosphere is cooler than the surface, it is impossible for it to warm the surface. Thermodynamics still applies, even in climatology and despite the political needs of the liberals’ agenda.

    Reply

    • Avatar

      JayPee

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      Agreed

      But why not address the fundamental fact that there is no greenhouse effect as suggested by the alarmists.

      Everything their argumentation is based on is not only without proof but demonstrably wrong.

      Global Warming ??!!
      Climate Change ??!!

      Every part of their argument is dependent on a provable ” greenhouse effect ” .

      To this day there s no proof whatsoever of the Carl Sagan conjecture of a

      GREENHOUSE EFFECT

      Reply

      • Avatar

        JayPee

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        Andrzejewski

        You have never understood and you never will. Your tired appeal to heat comparison phenomena that have been debunked umpteen times is obviously beyond your comprehension.

        Reply

        • Avatar

          Drewskiiswatching

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          So explain it Japee.
          If there is no such thing as a greenhouse effect, why is it used in weather forecasting, why isn’t the earth the same temp as the moon and why is Venus so hot?

          Reply

          • Avatar

            Drewskiiswatching

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            We are all waiting for an explanation JayPee.
            What is your powerhouse theory on “no greenhouse gases” which will change the mind of virtually every scientist in the world — as well as even the minds Steve Goddard, Anthony Watts, Roy Spencer and Gator and the rest of your cohorts?

            You better hurry though because someone will soon be censoring my comments soon for bruising your delicate sensibilities.

          • Avatar

            JayPee

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            Explained ad nauseam. Do your homework, if motivated. Understand, if you can.

            Keep trolling and feigning intellect.

          • Avatar

            Drewskiiswatching

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            “I have explained it already and you look up what I have asserted.”

            If I had a dollar for every time I have heard an excuse like yours, Bill Gates would be my lackey.

            Just be honest for once and admit that you have no clue what you are talking about. My God man, not even Anthony Watts, Steve Goddard or Roy Spencer agree with you.

            You aren’t even on the shrinking island with the rest of your friends, you are on the dingy in the lagoon of that island.

          • Avatar

            Drewskiiswatching

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            Isn’t it curious that not one of you “friends” will jump into the conversation? Normally there is someone who is willing to argue your case or distract me with completely unconnected BS, but not now.

            Looks like you are on your own JayPee.

          • Avatar

            JayPee

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            I don’t need any help.
            After you’re ignorant ravings are gone,
            I’ll gladly demonstrate the absolute proof to the rest.

            I am under no obligation to educate an ignoramus, arrogant, multi-proven LIAR.

            I don’t expect you’ll understand.

          • Avatar

            Drewskiiswatching

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            So now you under “no obligation to prove” anything no matter how absurd or unsupported.

            Same old same old

          • Avatar

            JayPee

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            And when have you proven anything ?

            The entirety of your assertions are nothing but the unproven, unfounded ejaculations of your opinion.

            Yet you assert infallibility unless you are forthwith demonstrated conclusively wrong on demand.

            Even though you have been proved conclusively wrong multiple times previously.

            Keep writing.

            I think we’ll all keep laughing.

          • Avatar

            Drewskiiswatching

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            Chapter 3 page 9 in the sCeptic handbook HOW TO TALK NONSENSE TO LOGICAL PEOPLE
            “If you can’t back up the nonsense you have been asserting with actual evidence, blame someone else about something completely unrelated”

          • Avatar

            Drewskiiswatching

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            JayPee: “But why not address the fundamental fact that there is no greenhouse effect as suggested by the alarmists.”

            Time to walk the walk JayPee and “address this fundamental fact”.

          • Avatar

            Drewskiiswatching

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            Bye then JayPee,
            I will leave you now so that you can get straight to fulfilling your promise and “prove” to your friends at CCD and to the rest of the world that the greenhouse effect doesn’t actually exist.

            I will be the first to nominate you for the Nobel Prize after I see those fully referenced “sciency-type” studies of yours.

            And please don’t be like all the rest of the sCeptics and, for once, be a man of your word.

            And if you don’t follow through, remember, DREWSKI IS WATCHING.

          • Avatar

            JayPee

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            Something you will never understand

            NO ONE EXPECTS YOU TO UNDERSTAND

          • Avatar

            Drewskiiswatching

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            Is that your study? I thought you had “absolute proof”. Where are the references?

            Surely you can’t be a “multi-proven LIAR”

          • Avatar

            JayPee

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            YOU ARE A SERIAL LIAR

            I HAVE NO OBLIGATION TO EXPLAIN ANYTHING TO

            A SERIAL LIAR

            ONCE AGAIN

            I DON’T EXPECT YOU TO UNDERSTAND

          • Avatar

            Drewskiiswatching

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            The bottom line is that — once again — you have no evidence in support of your argument and you don’t even try to provide any.

            How utterly predictable.

  • Avatar

    Amber

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    As they say JayPee …” The fewer the facts the stronger the opinions “. $$ Trillions spent on this overblown scam.

    That is the real story , and a sad one indeed for it shows how people are manipulated by scam artists ,even for a while .

    When people are being fed a complete line of BS from a countries top politicians it begs the question what else are they not talking about ?

    Who provides Obama the bizarre information he is expressing ? What scientific conscientious is there that says.. in light of no measurable temperature increase in almost 2 decades, we can prove our theory that the earth’s average temperature will increase from an average of 57 degrees to 69 degrees ? OR +20% .

    Any Loon want to sign their name to that piece of fiction . Yet the President didn’t just make up numbers out of thin air did he ?

    Did anyone provide the President with that information at all ?

    So lets get this straight MR. President, are you telling people that the earth’s average temperature will rise by over 20 % based on a gas that is essential to life ?

    Where and how did you arrive at that conclusion MR President ?

    Reply

  • Avatar

    JayPee

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    As promised in re earth and moon :
    The earth has greater albedo visible light heat retention than the moon and the following three are not lunar phenomena at all :

    #2 : geothermal energy
    #3 : electrical energy generated by the dynamo ( the earth is a spinning magnet )
    #4 : Tidal force movement of the tectonic plates twice a day, everyday
    All this winds up being expressed as heat via thermodynamics

    In re mercury and venus :

    Venus obviously has an unknown and rarely acknowledged internal energy source. Venus radiates into interplanetary space MORE energy than it receives from the sun. Without an extremely powerful internal energy source, the temperature of venus would have to be below absolute zero !

    Objective open minded people might listen.
    Agenda driven pretenders won’t.

    Reply

    • Avatar

      Me

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      Don’t worry, Coolwhip will ignore that like before and claim he didn’t see it and lie somemore as usual!

      Reply

  • Avatar

    Me

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    Check this out for a laugh! 😀

    Reply

  • Avatar

    Amber

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    Elizabeth May ,Green party leader in Canada, can’t apparently ride a bike ?She is however far less a hypocrite than Suzuki with the preachy do as I say not as I do lifestyle . Five kids ,four houses … driving a Prius however should help to help offset some of those those kerosene generated air miles .
    I could care less if she does or doesn’t ride a bike however based on Green’s boozy video speech I hope she sticks with cabs or walks .

    Reply

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