API Welcomes Reconsideration Of 2016 Emissions Rule by EPA

The American Petroleum Institute (API) has reiterated its support for cost-effective regulation that targets emissions of volatile organic compounds—which provide the accompanying benefit of methane emissions reductions—for natural gas operations. API’s comments came at an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) hearing on its New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) rule where the agency received testimony on extending compliance deadlines to allow it to revisit NSPS regulations finalized in 2016.

“Methane emissions from the natural gas industry have fallen 18.6% even as production increased by 50% between 1990 and 2015,” said API senior director for regulatory and scientific affairs Howard J. Feldman. “This is a tribute to the industry’s ongoing commitment to technological innovation and our strong incentive to capture more of what we sell.”

API recounts that EPA’s NSPS rule provided a roadmap for effectively reducing emissions from natural gas and oil operations, including methane. Methane emissions from hydraulically fractured natural gas wells have fallen nearly 79% since 2005, and the increased use of natural gas to fuel the power sector has played a significant role in reaching near 30-year lows in carbon dioxide emissions. As methane is the primary constituent of natural gas, industry is currently incentivized to reduce those emissions.

“As demonstrated through previous regulatory efforts, EPA’s focus must be on cost-effective regulations that target emissions of volatile organic compounds, providing the co-benefit of methane emission reductions,” Feldman said. “The industry has led the way in pursuing new technologies and game-changing energy research that will fuel innovation for years to come. With these investments, the oil and natural gas industry is supplying the energy our economy needs while advancing America’s technological competitiveness, lowering carbon emissions, and creating jobs.” He added that API would continue to work with EPA, other federal agencies, and Congress to promote a future with a smarter regulatory approach anchored by science-based solutions. “Collaboration can build on industry success without sacrificing jobs or jeopardizing economic, environmental, and energy security benefits.”

(SOURCE: The Weekly Propane Newsletter, July 24, 2017)