ICYMI: The Trump Administration has removed environmental regulations that hamstring American businesses
Administrator Andrew Wheeler
August 19, 2020
Removing duplicative regulations saves employers billions of dollars in unnecessary compliance costs each year, while maintaining important health and environmental protections. During the previous administration, America’s oil and natural gas industry was weighted down by overregulation. Today, EPA is correcting course and finalizing a set of rules that will help ensure an important component of our domestic fuel supply stays in the pipeline – and out of our atmosphere.
Early in his administration, President Trump directed agencies to review existing regulations that potentially “burden the development or use of domestically produced energy resources” by issuing Executive Order 13783, Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth. After a robust process and consideration of public comments, EPA is removing unnecessary and inappropriate burdens on the United States energy sector with two final rules that amend the 2016 New Source Performance Standards for the oil and natural gas industry.
The Trump Administration recognizes that methane is valuable, and the industry has an incentive to minimize leaks and maximize its use. Since 1990, U.S. natural gas production has increased by 89% according to the U.S. Department of Energy, and over the same period, methane emissions across the natural gas industry have fallen by 24%. Our regulations should not stifle this innovation and progress. Redundant, top-down mandates from Washington do not work. Far too often, we have seen standards promulgated that are unattainable with even the best available technology, resulting in job losses and costly legal challenges. EPA’s amendments instead foster regulatory certainty by modernizing, simplifying, and streamlining regulations that impact the domestic oil and gas industry, while protecting the environment.
The first rule removes the transmission and storage segment of the industry from regulation and rescinds the Obama Administration’s inadequately justified regulation of methane. The rule’s amendments also reflect the legal requirement that EPA must find that a pollutant, like methane, contributes significantly to air pollution anticipated to endanger public health before regulating it. These amendments not only follow the text and spirit of the Clean Air Act, but also reduce regulatory burden to the industry and streamline other requirements. EPA is maintaining its existing regulations that control smog-forming volatile organic compounds from the production and processing segments of the industry, continuing the protection of human health and the environment, while also reducing methane emissions.
The second rule will make much-needed changes to requirements for monitoring fugitive emissions (or “leaks”), among other changes. The technical amendments are commonsense changes that will relieve an unnecessary burden on small oil and gas operators who rely on straightforward regulatory policy to run their businesses and provide Americans with reliable, affordable energy.
We recognize that some states are already controlling fugitive emissions under their own regulations. Our amendments relieve some owners and operators from complying with multiple layers of regulation.
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