Oddly, some of the largest oil companies in the country are against the move. This could be due to the fact that large companies can comply with burdensome regulations while small oil companies will be forced from the market due to compliance costs.
The Environmental Protection Agency announced Thursday a plan to loosen federal rules governing methane emissions, a move that could be a boon for some energy providers and setback for environmentalists, the agency said in a statement.
The move will reverse standards set under President Barack Obama that require oil companies to install instruments on their pipelines and well heads that curb the release of methane, an emission researchers believe contributes to global warming. President Donald Trump spent his first two years eliminating scores of his predecessor’s environmental legacy.
Trump officials believe the fossil fuel industry has an incentive to limit methane because capturing it allows companies to sell more gas, officials told WaPo on the condition of anonymity. Such changes will save the industry between $17 million and $19 million a year, the EPA noted.
“EPA’s proposal delivers on President Trump’s executive order and removes unnecessary and duplicative regulatory burdens from the oil and gas industry,” EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said in a statement. “The Trump Administration recognizes that methane is valuable, and the industry has an incentive to minimize leaks and maximize its use. Since 1990, natural gas production in the United States has almost doubled while methane emissions across the natural gas industry have fallen by nearly 15%.”