Last week on October 17th in Dallas, TX, the EPA held its sole public hearing on a proposal to eliminate methane controls for oil and gas facilities. Methane is a greenhouse gas that is 80 times more potent than carbon dioxide and responsible for 25% of the global warming we are currently experiencing.
EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler’s proposal completely eliminates regulations for methane emissions from the oil and gas industry across the entire supply chain. The proposal also seeks to remove federal rules for both methane and volatile organic compounds for facilities in the transportation and storage segment of the supply chain.
Methane escapes into our atmosphere during oil and fracked gas drilling, pumping and processing. These leaks damage air quality and in turn, endanger public lands and the communities that rely on them. Many communities in the four corners area, and around the nation, are trying to balance resource extraction with recreation to recruit both visitors and quality of life businesses.
Oil and gas operators need to use best practices and not leave local economies that depend on public land access with air quality issues. When the quality of air suffers, so does the local outdoor recreation economy. User experiences are greatly impacted by poor air quality, as are the reputations of recreation destination communities.
Under the new proposal, the EPA projects that by 2025 methane emissions would increase by 370,000 tons, VOCs would increase by 10,000 tons and air pollutant emissions would increase by 300 tons. However, some studies find that actual emissions from the oil and gas companies would likely be 60-100% higher than the EPA’s estimates.
Many large oil companies oppose the new proposed regulations despite predictions that they would save between $122-155 million through 2025. The long term future and reputations of oil and natural gas is at stake and a failure to enforce methane capture could potentially hurt the industry more than it will help it.
To read more about methane, click here.
Check out our previous methane coverage: