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What They Are Saying About EPA's New Methane Proposal

08/29/2019
Contact Information: 
EPA Press Office (press@epa.gov)

WASHINGTON (Aug. 29, 2019) – On Thursday, Aug. 29, EPA proposed updates to the prior administration’s national standards for the oil and natural gas industry. The proposal would remove duplicative regulations and save the industry millions of dollars in compliance costs each year – while maintaining health and environmental regulations on oil and gas sources that the agency considers appropriate. Congressional leaders and stakeholders had the following to say:

U.S. Senator John Barrasso (WY), Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman: “The Trump Administration is working to make sure regulations are justified. The state of Wyoming already regulates methane emissions from oil and gas production. There’s no need for Washington to pile on. I will work with Wyoming to evaluate the Environmental Protection Agency’s new proposal. We need commonsense rules that protect our air without hurting our economy.”

U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe (OK), Senate Environment and Public Works Committee member: “I applaud Administrator Wheeler for releasing the draft rule today which will replace the burdensome and unnecessary methane rule crafted by the Obama Administration. As I said when it was first proposed, the old methane rule had no environmental benefit and created needless costs while hindering economic growth. Methane emissions have continued to decrease by voluntary actions initiated by industry, all while oil and gas production has skyrocketed. With this kind of progress, why would regulation be necessary? I am proud of Administrator Wheeler and the EPA, under the direction of President Trump, for continuing to rollback Obama-era regulations that were made with little concern for the law or the effect they may have on our economy.”

U.S. Senator Mike Enzi (WY): “The current methane venting and flaring rules created under the Obama Administration were excessive and overly burdensome. I appreciate that the Trump Administration is continuing to review old regulations, and update them where necessary, to help ensure that we do not improperly burden our country’s energy development. We in Wyoming know the benefit that oil and gas development can have on our community, and I look forward to reviewing the draft rule in full."

U.S. Senator Kevin Cramer (ND): “North Dakota is a leader in oil and natural gas production; and as I like to say, North Dakota does not need Washington imposing its mediocrity on our excellence. This proposed rule maintains health and environmental protections while eliminating duplicative regulations which increase compliance costs for producers that get passed along to consumers. I applaud Administrator Wheeler for continuing President Trump’s promise to eliminate burdensome regulations placed on energy production, and I urge North Dakotans to offer their input on this proposal.”

House Republican Conference Chair Liz Cheney (WY-At Large): "I applaud the Trump Administration for eliminating the unnecessary and overreaching Obama-Era Methane Rule that imperiled crucial sectors of our state’s economy. When this rule was implemented by the previous Administration, it represented an existential threat to both America's energy industry - which employs thousands of workers in Wyoming - and to the affordable and reliable fossil fuels that families across the country rely on. Fortunately, President Trump has reversed this approach and instead championed the resources that our country has at its disposal. Today’s amendments put forward by the EPA will allow the private sector to create more jobs and produce more energy at home. I will continue to work with the President and Administrator Wheeler to further increase domestic energy production, while reducing unnecessary and burdensome regulation."

Rep. Jodey Arrington (TX-19):  “The heart of America’s economic prosperity and unrivaled security is an abundant, affordable, and reliable supply of domestic energy. The energy revolution and, in particular, the innovations in technology we have seen from industry leaders here in West Texas in recent years have advanced our nation’s energy security while creating a significant reduction in carbon emissions. Today’s proposed rule will reduce unnecessary and burdensome regulations empowering our energy producers to continue to lead the way in our nation’s energy dominance and environmental stewardship. The Obama Administration’s midnight regulation on the oil and gas industry would have cost hundreds of millions of dollars and thousands of jobs for our small and independent energy producers with no real environmental impact. I applaud President Trump and the EPA for finding meaningful ways to balance the stewardship of our environment and economic growth leaving our nation safer, stronger, and cleaner for our children and grandchildren.”

Rep. Paul Gosar (AZ-04), Congressional Western Caucus Chairman: "President Obama weaponized the EPA against the energy industry, creating job-killing regulations, and stifling American energy and economic growth. Duplicative and costly methane mandates from the Obama Administration still burden our energy sector and hold back America energy dominance. Thankfully, President Trump and Administrator Wheeler understand that industry and the environment can coexist."

Rep. Rob Bishop (UT-01), Congressional Western Caucus Chairman Emeritus: "For too long, the overregulation of methane has imposed undue burdens. By continuing on this unnecessary path, we fail to alleviate inflating energy prices or provide meaningful environmental gains. Removing barriers to energy production here at home, where we have the most stringent environmental standards, should be common sense. These proposals by the EPA are in line with the prudent policy of securing American energy independence and prosperity."

Rep. Ken Buck (CO-04) “I’m glad to see the EPA move forward with these critical, commonsense reforms that reduce burdensome regulations on the oil and gas industry, which in turn is a huge win for Colorado. I look forward to seeing the industry continue the good work they’re doing to reduce methane emissions while maximizing its safe production and use without the heavy hand of the government forcing them to do so.”

Rep. Andy Biggs (AZ-05): "Promises made, promises kept: I commend President Trump and his Administration for taking action against the EPA’s disastrous methane rule.  By promoting energy independence and economic growth through a sound deregulatory agenda, we will continue to see a boom in the American oil and gas sector that helps fuel millions of lives across the world." 

Rep. James Comer (KY-01): "This Administration has prioritized removing barriers for competition and promoting common-sense regulations that benefit American industry. I applaud Administrator Wheeler and the EPA for rolling back this restrictive, unnecessary and costly rule that has proved detrimental to our domestic energy sector. Taking action against this harmful Obama-era rule is a major win for our energy producers."

Rep. Doug Lamborn (CO-05): "I applaud Administrator Wheeler for correcting the Obama Administration’s improper regulatory overreach and for following the letter of the law. Today’s proposed rule will remove duplicative and unnecessary regulations which needlessly burden the development and use of our domestic energy resources. The fact is that the oil and gas industry will always have an economic incentive to limit methane because capturing it allows companies to sell more gas. That is why methane emissions have continued to decrease while energy production has increased over the same time period. Innovation and technology improvements within the oil and gas industry and not ideologically driven government regulation has made the U.S. the world’s leader in emissions reductions."

Rep. Pete Olson (TX-22): "President Trump and Administrator Wheeler continue to strike a needed balance that protects our environment without adding excessive rules and regulations on those who power our nation’s energy needs. As a longtime advocate of this action who joined my colleagues to request a review of this burdensome mandate, I welcome this decision."

Rep. Markwayne Mullin (OK-02): "I applaud the Administration’s decision to amend the EPA Methane Rule. I have repeatedly attempted to prohibit funding to this job-killing regulation. It is counterproductive for the federal government to enact harmful regulations that cause inefficiencies, recklessly spend taxpayer dollars, and force hardships upon job-creating industries."

Rep. Kelly Armstrong (ND-At Large): "This is another example of the Trump Administration rolling back burdensome regulations that hindered economic and energy development while doing nothing to protect the environment. I applaud the President and the EPA for continuing their work to implement common sense regulatory reform that promotes energy development, contributes to national security, and creates jobs for hardworking Americans. This is good for the country, good for North Dakota, and will allow us to continue the energy dominance and independence that originally began right here in Bakken Shale formation."

Erik Milito, Vice President of Upstream and Industry Operations at American Petroleum Institute: “The oil and natural gas industry is laser-focused on cutting methane emissions through industry initiatives, smart regulations, new technologies, and best practices. We welcome smart regulations that protect public health and the environment, and  provide the flexibility to develop and deliver affordable and reliable American energy. We support EPA’s efforts to adhere to its statutory obligations under the Clean Air Act.  Under this proposal, the oil and natural gas sector will continue to be effectively regulated. The regulation of volatile organic compounds drives down methane emissions and allows for innovation and technological advancements that help environmental performance and strengthen industry’s actions to reduce emissions.”

Lee Fuller, Executive Vice President of Independent Petroleum Association of America: "IPAA endorses the change because it would be far more cost effective with regard to the breadth of emissions sources. IPAA has consistently believed and recommended that a VOC‑based program is the appropriate pathway for regulating natural gas and oil production emissions. American producers are committed to managing their greenhouse gas emissions and continue to invest in the development of new technologies to mitigate and reduce emissions. These actions have and will continue to reduce methane emissions from natural gas and oil production operations. Under the EPA’s revision in the regulatory basis, new and modified sources would continue to be regulated. EPA’s 2012 Subpart OOOO were VOC based regulations – which regulated the larger components of natural gas and oil production emissions. Its Subpart OOOOa regulations can be appropriately revised. However, the hundreds of thousands of existing, small business-owned low-production wells wouldn’t be subject to inappropriate regulations that arise from a methane rule triggered by a little understood section of the Clean Air Act (Section 111 (d)). This section of the Act would compel these small wells to use technology requirements for new facilities rather than requirements designed for older, existing operations. Moreover, existing facilities in ozone non-attainment areas have been subject since October 2016 to Control Techniques Guidelines (CTG) promulgated by EPA that has been weaved into state regulations, as new State Implementation Plans have been created to meet the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for ozone. These CTG use reasonably available control technology that recognizes the difference between new facilities and older, existing ones. Importantly, because of the poor quality of emissions data available for these low production wells, the Department of Energy is conducting a study to determine an accurate emissions profile, one that could be used to determine whether and what kind of cost-effective regulatory program would be appropriate for federal and state emissions controls of small wells.”

Joel Moxley, President and CEO of GPA Midstream Association: “We are encouraged to see that EPA is moving forward on this common sense and efficient proposal that will continue to reduce methane while reducing unproductive regulatory hurdles.”

Thomas Pyle, President of American Energy Alliance: “This proposal is a smart move and directly in line with President Trump’s approach to America’s continued energy dominance. The EPA has already shown that on top of incredible economic growth, led by the domestic energy industry, the U.S. leads the world in clean air. The connection between a vibrant economy and a healthy environment are all too evident. Unfortunately, due to the doom-and-gloom rhetoric from the green left, most American’s don’t understand or realize that the environment is continually getting better. Today’s proposed change focuses on removing costly and duplicative barriers while promoting market-focused solutions. Incentives to reduce emissions already exist for this industry without the heavy hand of the government and today’s announcement is a breath of fresh air from the previous Administration that made every effort possible to regulate the oil and gas industry out of business.”

Kathleen Sgamma, President of Western Energy Alliance: "We'll see hyperbolic statements made by certain states and environmental groups, when in reality the adjustments merely realign the rule properly with the Clean Air Act.  EPA is making sensible adjustments to remove the convoluted complexities introduced in the Quad Oa rule that followed the Obama EPA's original Quad O rule. Methane will still be regulated, and industry will continue its four-decade-long trend of reducing methane emissions even as natural gas production has increased by 50%."

Nick Loris, Energy and Environment Economist of Heritage Foundation: “The United States has become the world’s leading oil and natural gas producer, providing affordable, reliable power to families and businesses. But heavy-handed regulations yielding negligible climate benefits threaten the United States’ ability to produce affordable energy. The Obama Administration’s methane regulations were a costly, non-solution in search of a problem. Energy producers have an incentive to capture and sell methane, the main component in natural gas, because it has economic value—yielding low cost energy for consumers and reducing the United States’ allies dependence on Russian gas. The EPA even notes methane emissions from the industry have fallen despite the fact energy production has skyrocketed. Furthermore, states have implemented their own rules and the private sector is taking voluntary action to capture methane. As noted in Heritage’s Blueprint For Balance, the previous Administration’s climate regulations were burdensome, duplicative, and unnecessary; the current EPA is wise to right size them.”