By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Politcal Reporter
Friday, August 21, US Representative Gary Palmer (R-Hoover) announced in a statement that he strongly opposes the EPA’s newly proposed rule on methane emissions that will apply to new or modified oil or natural gas sources. Palmer warned that the effect of the strict new rules will be to discourage the development of America’s vast untapped energy reserves and to increase the cost of energy. Rep. Palmer cited a study conducted by the University of Texas in coordination with the Environmental Defense Fund, Palmer noted that methane admissions represented approximately 0.38 percent of the total natural gas withdrawal and production in 2012.
Congressman Palmer wrote, “In 2014, the EPA noted that methane emission from fracking has fallen 73 percent since 2011, and overall methane emission from U.S. natural gas emissions has declined by at least 15 percent since 1990. The research noted that a small number of sites accounted for the majority of those emissions, suggesting that technology already in use across the industry is effectively managing methane leakage.”
According to Palmer, scientists agree that methane emissions need to be kept under 2-3 percent of total production and, according to the EPA’s own data, the current leakage rate is only about 1.5 percent. Palmer said that many experts in the field argue that the EPA’s proposed rule is unnecessary.
Rep. Palmer said, “EPA’s data seems to agree that we’re controlling methane leakage, and data from a high profile environmental group like the Environmental Defense Fund implies methane emissions are not a problem. So this begs the question, why is the EPA proposing unnecessary regulations?”
The Chairman of the Science, Space and Technology Committee Congressman Lamar Smith (R from Texas) said this this is another sign of the EPA’s opposition to responsible energy development. Chairman Smith said, “The EPA’s proposed methane rule is yet another example of the Obama administration’s war on American energy jobs. The EPA’s own data shows that methane emissions in the United States decreased by almost 15 percent between 1990 and 2013, yet EPA is forging ahead with this extraneous and unnecessary regulation. EPA should stop punishing cooperative industry stakeholders and start partnering with them in their current efforts to capture methane in a responsible manner. The EPA’s opposition to responsible, market-driven, ‘all-of-the-above’ domestic energy development is on full display with the announcement of this new regulation.”
Institute for Energy Research President Thomas Pyle said in a statement, “President Obama’s methane regulations are a solution in search of a problem. Methane is essentially natural gas, a valuable product that provides heat and electricity to millions of American families and businesses. Companies are already reducing methane emissions on their own because they are responsible, and to do otherwise would be leaving money on the table.”
President Pyle continued, “America’s oil and natural gas boom has lowered prices, created jobs, and been one of the few bright spots in an otherwise sluggish economy. This regulation is an attempt to stymie that production by driving up production costs and creating more hoops for American producers to jump through. As with much of the president’s climate agenda, these methane regulations aren’t about the climate at all, but rather about extending the reach of the federal government. It’s about power, not pollution. If recent events are any indicator, giving more power to EPA doesn’t necessarily yield positive results. Just ask the citizens who live near and depend on the Animas River.”
Critics of the Obama administration claim that the administration has embraced an extreme environmental agenda which sacrifices the economic good of the country for very little, if any, tangible benefit.
Congressman Gary Palmer is a member of the Science, Space and Technology Subcommittee on Environment. Palmer represents Alabama’s Sixth Congressional District.