Posted May 18, 2017
America’s oil and natural gas industry supports commonsense regulation, but a duplicative Bureau of Land Management (BLM) rule regulating methane emissions is a solution in search of a problem.
Methane is natural gas, so U.S. producers are highly incentivized to capture it for delivery to American consumers. It’s not surprising, then, that methane emissions associated with the natural gas industry declined by 16 percent from 1990-2015, according to EPA, while natural gas production increased by 55 percent.
Between industry innovations and existing regulations from EPA and the states, another layer of rules by BLM, which lacks the authority and expertise to regulate air quality, is simply not necessary.
Adding a redundant, technically flawed regulation could impede U.S. energy production, potentially reducing the availability of affordable domestic energy to the American consumer and decreasing revenues to the federal government. This is a flawed approach, failing to incentivize compliance, imposing additional costs on businesses and failing to ensure a fair return for taxpayers.
Fortunately, the Interior Department has “flagged” the rule “as one we will suspend, revise or rescind given its significant regulatory burden that encumbers American energy production, economic growth and job creation.” Interior continues: "The rule is expected to have real and harmful impacts on onshore energy development and could impact state and local jobs and revenue. Small independent oil and gas producers in states like North Dakota, Colorado and New Mexico, which account for a substantial portion of our nation's energy wealth, could be hit the hardest.”
Also at risk is the progress we’ve made in cutting greenhouse gas emissions. Greater use of natural gas is the primary reason carbon emissions from U.S. electricity generation are near 30-year lows.
Regulations that could stifle production of clean-burning natural gas threaten to undermine the emissions reductions it has achieved.
Thanks to technological advances, the United States leads the world in production and refining of natural gas and oil and in reduction of carbon emissions. It’s this innovation – not unnecessary, costly and duplicative regulation – that makes this success possible.
We look forward to working with the Congress and the Department of the Interior to prioritize oil and natural gas production to benefit the consumer, to enhance our nation’s ability to further reduce emissions, to provide jobs, and to generate much-needed revenue for the federal Treasury.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jack N. Gerard is president and CEO of the American Petroleum Institute (API), the national trade association that represents all aspects of America’s oil and natural gas industry. He also has served as the president and CEO of trade associations representing the chemical and mining industries. Jack understands how Washington works. He spent several years working in the U.S. Senate and House, and co-founded a Washington-based government relations consulting firm. A native of Idaho, Jack also is very active in the Boy Scouts of America, a university graduate program on politics, and his church’s leadership. He and his wife are the proud parents of eight children, including twin boys adopted from Guatemala.