According to information in the NY Times, President Obama recently started making plans to help with climate control via new regulations on the methane emissions from the oil and gas industry. The goal of these new regulations will be to reduce the amount of emissions by up to 45% by 2025. While these regulations are not enforceable yet, the Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA, will issue them throughout 2015 and 2016.
There are definitely two very different opinions when it comes to these regulations. Environmentalists are happy that the administration is finally taking action and doing something to help curb the methane emissions. Methane does have the potential to be a big problem without some sort of regulations, but those on the other side of the fence worry that the regulations could go too far. They fear that the new rules could actually hurt the industry, which is booming right now. There are voluntary standards which many of the oil and gas companies are following, and they argue that it’s enough to prevent potential methane leaks.
Thomas Pyle, of the American Energy Alliance, said that the proposed rules are unnecessary and redundant. He went on to say, “Energy producers are already reducing methane emissions because methane is a valuable commodity. It would be like issuing regulations forcing ice cream makers to spill less ice cream.” This is true, as methane is a major part of natural gas. Oil and gas companies work hard to ensure there are no leaks, as this means more of a profit for them anyway.
While this may be true, the boom in the industry means that more companies have been getting in on the action in recent years, and that’s one of the major causes for concern. The new rules, they say, are to help ensure there are reduced emissions and fewer leaks. As with so many things in this industry though, there is not likely to be a happy middle ground where everyone can agree on the best course of action to take. Since these new rules come by way of an executive action though, it does not seem as though there is much the oil and gas companies can do about it.
Little is known of the actual rules right now. Their actual cost, harshness, and effectiveness will likely come out over the course of the summer as the EPA begins to start implementing them.
Source: New York Times
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