WASHINGTON (AP) – The Biden administration is stepping up efforts to cut back methane emissions, targeting the oil and gas industry for its role in global warming, whilst President Biden pressured power producers to have more oil wells lower prices on the gasoline pump.
Biden was due on Friday to announce additional laws on methane emissions – a potent greenhouse gas that contributes significantly to global warming and has a stronger short-term impact than even carbon dioxide – on the world climate conference in Egypt.
The EPA’s latest rule is a continuation of the methane rule that Biden announced last 12 months on the United Nations Climate Summit in Scotland. The 2021 rule applies to emissions from existing oil and gas wells nationwide, quite than focusing only on latest wells, as was the case in previous EPA regulations.
The brand new rule goes a step further and covers all drilling sites, including smaller wells that emit lower than 3 tonnes (2.7 metric tons) of methane per 12 months. Small wells are currently undergoing initial inspection but are rarely re-checked for leaks.
The proposal also requires operators to reply to credible third party reports of huge methane leaks.
Oil and gas production is the country’s largest industrial source of methane, the major component of natural gas, and is a key goal of the Biden administration’s efforts to combat climate change. The USA is considered one of over 100 countries committed to reducing methane emissions by 30% by 2030 from 2020 levels.
“We’d like to set an example relating to fighting methane pollution – considered one of the most important drivers of climate change,” said EPA administrator Michael Regan, who can be in Egypt on the climate talks. Latest, stronger standards “will allow modern technologies to develop while protecting people and the planet,” he said.
A further rule comes when Biden accused the oil corporations of “war speculation” and raised the potential of imposing an unexpected tax on energy corporations in the event that they didn’t increase domestic production.
Biden has repeatedly criticized major oil corporations for achieving record profits after Russia’s war in Ukraine, while refusing to assist lower prices for the American people. The Democrat president suggested last week that he would ask Congress to impose tax penalties on oil corporations in the event that they didn’t invest a few of their record profits in cutting costs for US consumers.
Along with the EPA rule, a latest climate and health law passed by Congress in August features a methane emission reduction program that might levy a fee on power producers exceeding a certain level of methane emissions. The levy, which is about to rise to $ 1,500 per tonne of methane, is the primary time the federal government has directly imposed a levy or tax on greenhouse gas emissions.
The law allows exemptions for corporations that meet EPA standards or are below a certain emission threshold. It also includes $ 1.5 billion in subsidies and other expenses to assist operators and native communities improve methane emissions monitoring and data collection to seek out and repair natural gas leaks.
Many studies have shown that smaller wells produce just 6% of the country’s oil and gas but account for half of the methane emissions from drilling sites.
“We won’t leave half the issue on the table and expect the reductions we’d like to acquire and protect local communities from pollution,” said Jon Goldstein, senior director of oil and gas regulatory affairs on the Environmental Fund.
The oil industry generally welcomed direct federal regulation of methane emissions, preferring a single national standard over a mix of state regulations.
Even so, oil and gas corporations have asked the EPA to exempt tons of of 1000’s of the country’s smallest wells from their upcoming methane regulations.
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