US proposing easing rules on climate-changing oil emissions

A refinery flares gas from one of its stacks.- WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

A refinery flares gas from one of its stacks.- WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

Interested in Trump Administration? "The more gas we keep in our pipes and equipment, the more we can provide to the market - and the faster we can all move toward a lower-carbon future". The Trump administration has made several attempts to loosen regulations of the industry. It also threatens to undermine the oil industry's sales pitch that natural gas is a climate-friendly source of electricity - a cleaner-burning alternative to coal that can help power an energy-hungry world for decades to come.

As iPolitics reports, Ontario Environment Minister Jeff Yurek said Doug Ford's government is committed to "using every tool at (their) disposal" to fight against the federal Liberals' Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act, enacted in April.

Under the proposed rule, the EPA would eliminate regulation of the transmission and storage of methane, including transmission compressor stations, pneumatic controllers and underground storage vessels.

In some places, companies will pay to have the gas transported away.

The oil and gas industry is the biggest contributor of methane emissions in the country, accounting for nearly one-third in 2016.

It often is leaked as companies drill for gas and transport it across the country, and methane emissions are more than 80 times as potent as carbon dioxide emissions over the short term.

The agency predicts its proposal would save the oil and natural gas industry $17 million to $19 million per year.

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The proposed rule, expected this week, would no longer require the oil and gas industry to install technologies that monitor and limit leaks from new wells, tanks and pipelines. The changes, the group wrote in a blog post, "could reduce duplication with state programs, provide greater clarity for industry in its regulatory compliance and, ultimately, further lower methane and other emissions and protect the environment by making it easier for operators to gain approvals for use of new, innovative technologies to detect fugitive emissions for fix".

The industry has been divided over how methane should be regulated.

"Members of INGAA will stand by these commitments, maintain pipeline integrity and safe operations, and minimize impacts to customers and communities, irrespective of any regulatory changes", Santa said.

Some large energy companies, including BP, favour federal regulation of methane, saying federal control is preferable to a patchwork of varying rules by states and legal challenges by environmentalists.

Trump Administration's EPA has rollbacked protections instituted by the Obama Administration regarding methane emissions by oil and gas polluters. Heating Up Methane accounts for 10% of US greenhouse gas emissions, but unfortunately for all things that live on this planet, you get too much bang for your buck.

The removal of methane emissions caps would, however, save the oil and natural gas sector $17-$19 million per year ($97-$123 million by 2025), the EPA estimates, or about 0.07% of the USA industry's $28 billion net income for 2018.

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