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RBC I Western Energy Alliance released the following statement on President Obama’s announcement Thursday to impose methane reductions on existing oil and natural gas wells.
“President Obama’s announcement of further punitive measures on the oil and natural gas industry, which has already voluntarily decreased methane emissions by 21 percent even as natural gas production has soared 47 percent, continues policies that are counterproductive to his stated climate change goals,” said Kathleen Sgamma, vice president of government and public affairs for the Western Energy Alliance. “Contrary to the perception created by misleading statements from EPA and the environmental lobby, the oil and natural gas is not the largest human source of methane emissions, but we’re the only one that captures methane in significant quantities and puts it to beneficial use.
“Our industry has delivered 59 percent more climate change benefits through increased natural gas electricity generation than wind and solar combined,” she said. “The small amount of methane emissions from the upstream oil and natural gas sector is just 1.07 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, yet the administration continues to blindly pile on regulation after regulation without even letting the emissions reductions it has already imposed take effect.
“All these costly regulations make developing American oil and natural gas more costly while giving an advantage to producers in Iran, Saudi Arabia and Russia,” Sgamma said. “What’s particularly interesting about today’s announcement is that the president has gone even farther with his ‘pen and phone.’ Knowing there’s not time in his last term to get through the regulatory process required by law, he’s directing EPA to engage in regulation by enforcement.
“The EPA will use Clean Air Act Section 114 enforcement requests to tie companies in knots with highly detailed and extremely time consuming requests for information and then threaten huge fines if they don’t change practices, even if they’re operating according to existing regulations,” she said. “Apparently, laws don’t matter to the president when he’s targeting an industry he doesn’t like.
“Controls on existing wells, especially with current low natural gas prices, will cause thousands of low-volume wells to become too expensive to operate, and they will be plugged and abandoned,” Sgamma said. “Twenty percent of domestic production comes from approximately 771,000 marginal wells. That’s a huge source of domestic energy that is at risk from the president’s latest plans.” concluded Sgamma.
Western Energy Alliance, founded in 1974 as the Independent Petroleum Association of Mountain States, is a non-profit trade association representing more than 450 companies, engaged in all aspects of environmentally responsible exploration and production of oil and natural gas in the West.