The Obama administration recently announced forthcoming standards for methane emissions from new and modified oil and gas production sources, despite saying “voluntary efforts to reduce emissions in a comprehensive and transparent manner hold the potential to realize significant reductions in a quick, flexible, cost-effective way.”
The natural gas industry has already dramatically reduced methane emissions even as production and use have soared. New regulations will take too much time and yield too few benefits, compared with a collaborative approach.
Because methane is the product we sell there is great motivation to capture as much as possible. Innovations have led to safer, faster, more efficient and less costly methods of production, allowing our nation to enjoy the environmental, economic and energy security benefits of this abundant, domestic resource.
Industry has already worked with the EPA on regulation to require reduced emission, or “green”, completions to capture natural gas at the wellhead, which reduce methane emissions by 99 percent. The Energy Information Administration and EPA credit increased natural gas use for a significant portion of the 10 percent reduction in energy-related CO2 emissions in 2013 compared to 2005.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration researchers also found that emissions of sulfur dioxide have dropped by 44 percent and nitrogen oxide emissions by 40 percent since 1997 due to the increased use of natural gas combined cycles in power generation. Our air is cleaner today because of natural gas and industry is committed to making even greater progress.
Adding another complex and uncertain layer of federal regulation threatens to slow significant progress toward the shared objectives of a cleaner environment and a growing economy and is simply unnecessary to meet our goals. Current regulation, industry innovation and collaboration will pave the way for greater reductions more quickly than new regulation, allowing us to take better advantage of America’s clean, abundant and affordable natural gas resource.