EPA to Propose Retreat on Oil Methane Rules



EPA to Propose Retreat on Oil Methane Rules
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is set to unveil a proposal that would step back from federal regulation specifically targeting methane emissions at oil and gas facilities.

(Bloomberg) -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is set to unveil a proposal that would step back from federal regulation specifically targeting methane emissions at oil and gas facilities, potentially staving off requirements for a million existing U.S. wells.

A White House review of the proposal has been concluded, setting the stage for Thursday’s announcement, according to people familiar with the matter who asked not to be named before the decision has been made public.

Under the proposal, parts of the oil and gas industry -- such as production from individual wells and natural gas transmission -- would be considered distinct, separate segments.

EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said in May that if the oil and gas sector were split, it wasn’t clear methane emissions from those sources would be high enough to trigger Clean Air Act controls.

The proposal comes at a time of increasing anxiety about the effects of climate change. It also threatens to undermine the oil industry’s sales pitch that natural gas is a climate-friendly source of electricity -- a cleaner-burning alternative to coal that can help power an energy-hungry world for decades to come.

Dozens of oil companies have made voluntary pledges to keep methane in check, and some have warned the Trump administration that federal regulation specifically targeting it is essential for natural gas to maintain that reputation.

“Stakeholder confidence in natural gas is hanging by the thread, and the EPA is pulling out the scissors with this methane rollback,” Ben Ratner, a senior director with the Environmental Defense Fund’s energy innovation arm, said earlier this month.

To contact the reporter on this story:
Jennifer A. Dlouhy in Washington at jdlouhy1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story:
Jon Morgan at jmorgan97@bloomberg.net
John Harney, Karen Leigh



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Randy Verret  |  August 29, 2019
Unfortunately, what is getting "Lost" in all this is the upstream oil & gas sector has done a solid job the past 10 years in reducing wellsite GHG emissions. The other component is the reduction in U.S CO2 emissions has FAR exceeded any other industrialized nation as we have GHG emissions levels comparable to 1992 levels. Thanks (mainly) to power generation being converted to natural gas. A GREAT story...except, you'd never know it by lack of coverage in the media. Meanwhile, the Trump Administration continues to play right into the narrative of the environmental NGO's & their "horror show" with the constant drumbeat of regulatory "rollbacks," which are (largely) exaggerated. The oil & gas industry is LONG overdue in shifting it's public outreach and START emphasizing environmental & technological achievements & BEAT down the false activist narratives and diminish the OBSESSION with production. Otherwise, why are you surprised that detractors continue to erode our "social license"?