Under a new regulatory proposal announced Thursday, August 28, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) plans to roll-back burdensome air standards for the U.S. oil and natural gas industry, in a move expected to save the oil and natural gas industry $17-$19 million a year in compliance costs, for a total of $97-$123 million from 2019 through 2025. The EPA’s rule-making seeks to update the 2016 New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) for the oil and gas industry by rescinding emissions limits for methane from the production and processing segments of the industry, but would keep emissions limits for ozone-forming volatile organic compounds (VOCs). The following statement can be attributed to Ed Longanecker, president of the Texas Independent Producers & Royalty Owners Association (TIPRO):
The Trump Administration continues to scale back unnecessary, burdensome regulations hindering growth of the U.S. oil and gas industry, while at the same time strengthening environmental protections in the United States. TIPRO commends the administration and EPA for recognizing that the addition of these sources to the 2016 NSPS rule was not appropriate because the agency did not make a separate finding at that time to determine that the emissions from the transmission and storage segment of the industry causes or significantly contributes to air pollution that may endanger public health or welfare.
The 2016 NSPS were among the most overreaching regulations targeting the U.S. oil and natural gas industry promulgated under the previous administration. Since the EPA updated its NSPS and permitting rules in 2016 for new, reconstructed and modified oil and gas sources, TIPRO has lobbied aggressively against the onerous regulations.
The U.S. oil and gas industry is making significant progress in reducing energy emissions as domestic production continues to set new records. Methane emissions from onshore U.S. oil and natural gas production fell 24 percent, while oil and natural gas production rose 65 percent and 19 percent, respectively, from 2011 to 2017, according to data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Energy Information Administration. These positive energy emission trends are primarily attributable to voluntary actions from operators, including investment of approximately $300 billion in greenhouse gas mitigating technologies by U.S. oil and natural gas companies over the past 20 years.
Increasing use of natural gas for electricity generation has also resulted in reductions in the emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and criteria air pollutants. In fact, in 2017, the U.S. led the world in carbon emission reductions for the third consecutive year and for the ninth time this century. Since 2000, our nation’s energy-related carbon emissions have declined more than any other country on earth.
Federal regulations should support, not stifle this progress. Only through a fair, stable regulatory environment has the country been able to accomplish such major achievements, resulting in cleaner air and water resources, while leading the world in oil and natural gas production.