DENVER -- Western Energy Alliance today responded to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) release of final rules on methane emissions under the Clean Air Act’s New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) Section OOOOb and Emission Guidelines (EG) OOOOc. Administrator Michael Regan announced his agency’s decisions while attending the 28th Conference of Parties (COP28) climate summit in Dubai. The following comments are attributable to Alliance President Kathleen Sgamma.
“The Biden Administration wants to show the world at COP28 that it’s doing something on climate change. Instead of touting the fact that the United States leads the world in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, primarily from increased natural gas electricity generation, the administration is choosing to overregulate an industry that has done more to reduce greenhouse gas emissions than wind and solar combined.
“The oil and natural gas industry has a four-decade record of success reducing methane emissions. Since 2005, the industry has reduced methane emissions 13 percent even as oil and natural gas production have gone up 53 percent and 101 percent, respectively. In addition, natural gas has achieved 58 percent of power sector emissions reductions, compared to only 42 percent from wind and solar energy. Despite that success and the role the industry plays in ensuring sustainable, reliable energy, EPA has finalized a punitive rule that exceeds its lawful authority.
“First and foremost, the Super-Emitter program, which deputizes third-party groups with little accountability or quality control, is completely illegal. EPA properly delegates to states under a process of cooperative federalism that follows basic constitutional principles and the Clean Air Act. States have worked for decades to earn that delegated authority and must develop detailed air quality plans to meet their obligations. With no authority from Congress, EPA has created a program that cavalierly hands compliance and enforcement authority to entities with no authority under the Clean Air Act. These entities will not be properly vetted nor held accountable for incorrect data or harassment of companies. This program is ripe for challenge in court.
“Equally egregious is EPA’s deliberate efforts to close hundreds of thousands of low-producing wells, thereby threatening 10 percent of America’s oil production. These wells are operated mainly by small businesses that cannot absorb the relatively huge regulatory costs of this rule and will be put out of business. EPA fails to recognize that the vast majority of these wells are low-emitting. EPA also fails to recognize that because of production declines, the vast majority of U.S. production already falls under EPA New Source Performance Standards. EPA is willing to put at risk 10 percent of U.S. oil production at a time of high energy prices and constrained supply from OPEC, thereby ensuring that the United States will send billions of dollars overseas to make up for the energy loss.
“The oil and natural gas industry is committed to continuing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while providing 70 percent of the energy that sustains life for humanity. However the whole-of-government approach the Biden Administration is pursuing is meant to force a transition to energy scarcity and economic hardship. Creating jobs for regulators and those doing regulatory work is not increasing the productive capacity of the U.S. When EPA puts at risk 10 percent of the country's oil production through regulation, the number of jobs goes down, even factoring in those jobs ‘created' to regulate those productive jobs out of existence. The final methane rules are fundamentally flawed and will lead to less American production and more imports from overseas.”
More information about EPA’s rules is available in the Alliance’s public comment letter filed earlier this year.
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