The Biden administration announced new rules for the oil and gas industry Saturday, requiring it to cut methane emissions by nearly 80% through 2038.
The U.S. committed to the new regulations on the oil and gas industry during the Climate Change Conference (COP28) in Dubai where Vice President Kamala Harris also announced that the U.S. would spend $3 billion in taxpayer dollars as a pledge to climate and “gender equity” funds.
EPA Administrator Michael Regan and White House National Climate Adviser Ali Zaidi were also in Dubai to announce the new crackdown on methane emissions, saying the rule will help the Biden administration make the “progress we need to make.”
“From mobilizing billions in investment to plug orphaned wells, patch leaky pipes, and reclaim abandoned mines to setting strong standards that will cut pollution from the oil and gas sector, the Biden-Harris Administration is putting the full weight of the federal government into slashing harmful methane pollution,” Zaidi said in a statement.
Under the new rule, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will require oil and gas companies to end routine flaring of natural gas and capture gas instead of burning it, according to CNN. Flaring is the conventional method oil and gas companies have used for controlled burning of natural gas since the beginning of oil production around 160 years ago.
The American Petroleum Institute (API) said it supports regulation of methane emissions, but asked the EPA to modify its current plan, saying, “we are concerned the proposed rule as drafted could create barriers to innovation and hamper U.S. energy production, which could lead to higher energy costs.”
The API also joined the Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA) and the American Exploration and Production Council in submitting comments to the EPA in October, warning that rule on methane emissions would “create a potentially significant financial impact” on the oil and gas industry, Just The News reported.
Industry expert Tom Shepstone told Just The News that while seeking ways to reduce emissions can be good, the Biden administration is pursuing a more radical agenda.
“I think we make a big mistake when we don’t recognize that the EPA, the Biden administration, and environmental groups, generally speaking — not all of them but a lot of them — are really about trying to get rid of fossil fuels,” Shepstone said.
Between 2018 and 2022, major oil and gas basins in the U.S. were already reporting large declines in methane emissions, from 18% to 77% decreases. But even with oil and gas companies working to decrease emissions, the Biden administration has now leveled more restrictions on the industry in back-to-back years after increasing standards last year.