EPA Announces Rules to Cut Methane Emissions

oil well
Oil Well (Wikipedia)

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced some new rules last week designed to cut the amount of methane gas released into the atmosphere as a byproduct of oil drilling operations. Methane is a greenhouse gas that’s being blamed for about 25% of the ongoing manmade global warming. The new rules are part of the Obama administration’s efforts to significantly cut greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S.

The EPA estimates the proposed rules would reduce methane emissions by 340,000 to 400,000 short tons by 2025, the equivalent of reducing the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere by 7.7 to 9 million metric tons. The agency estimates the cost to implement the rules would be about $420 million, but the benefits to the economy would exceed that amount by about $120 to $150 million.

The oil industry, of course, immediately criticized the rules, even though they would only apply to new drilling operations. The American Petroleum Institute complained that the new rules would be “duplicative, costly, and undermine America’s competitiveness.”

The Republican National Committee (RNC) also weighed in against the new methane rules, but in an unexpected manner. “We are concerned that restrictions on methane gas emissions might be extended beyond new oil drilling operations,” said RNC spokesperson Kirsty Kookorian. “If they become widespread, it could make it very difficult for us to conduct Republican presidential candidate debates.”

Updates

On September 10, 2018, it was reported that the Donald Trump administration plans to propose to eliminate regulations that limit methane emissions from oil and natural gas wells.

U.S.A. #1 in Natural Gas Production

The national trade association of the oil and natural gas industry, the American Petroleum Institute, is running a TV commercial touting America as the new “Energy Superpower” because the U.S. is now the world’s #1 producer of natural gas. The ad says that, “The new energy superpower is red, white and blue.” It gives credit for this achievement to the industry’s growing use of the controversial practice of underground hydraulic fracturing.

But the environmental group No Fracking Way says that fracking causes groundwater pollution, earthquakes, and increased methane emissions. They complain that the TV commercial is being used to deceptively justify the further expansion of fracking.

“The fossil fuel industry is also lying about the biggest reason natural gas production has increased,” said the group’s spokesperson. “The real reason is the growing number of blathering TV show hosts on the Fox News Channel.”

 

The Road to Irrelevance

dead republican elephantSeveral Republican presidential candidates attended the Road to Majority conference being sponsored by the conservative Faith & Freedom Coalition and the Concerned Women for American in Washington D.C. this week.

The Faith & Freedom Coalition described the conference as, “an important training and equipping weekend to fight the radical Obama agenda, advance conservative legislation at the state and federal level, and prepare for the 2016 elections.”

All of the Republican candidates spoke about the topics most dear to the conference attendees – outlawing abortions and the stopping the spread of gay rights.

On Wednesday night a young white man named Dylann Roof  shot nine black people to death during a Bible study session at the historical Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. When he was captured by police he said he did it to try and start a race war.

On Thursday Pope Francis issued a papal encyclical letter wherein he declared global warming to be a manmade problem that the world’s politicians have a moral responsibility to help solve immediately.

Racial violence in America and the injustices caused by climate change weren’t addressed at the Road to Majority conference.

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