North Dakota senator, Heidi Heitkamp, pushes back against the latest federal mandate to reduce methane emissions.
President Obama revealed a plan last month that would require oil and gas companies to cut methane pollution from drilling sites, distribution systems and in other areas of operation. This ruling is part of the President’s broad and aggressive plan to fight climate change, and many believe it would literally transform the energy industry.
The EPA said the proposed standards will reduce 340,000 to 400,000 short tons of methane in 2025, the equivalent of reducing 7.7 to 9 million metric tons of CO2. The agency estimates the rule will yield net climate benefits of $120-150 million in 2025.
Senator Henkamp is proposing bipartisan, “commonsense solutions” to reduce methane emissions including speeding up the permit approval process for gas-gathering lines and pipeline projects to reduce flaring.
Critics charged the administration with wanting to sabotage the industry and the jobs it has created. Oil and gas producers are already fatigued from months of low crude prices and adding potentially costly regulations at this time could have a dire impact on the jobs that depend on it. The EPA estimates that the ruling might cost the industry as much as $420 million.
Methane is the key component of natural gas and has a high impact on global warming — up to 25 times that of carbon dioxide. In April, a nationwide study showed that methane emissions across the United States had dropped significantly in the past two decades and are much lower than current Environmental Protection Agency estimates. Read more