The Biden administration has unveiled stringent new regulations aimed at significantly reducing methane emissions in the oil and gas sector. Announced during the Climate Change Conference (COP28) in Dubai, these measures are part of a broader commitment to environmental sustainability and climate change mitigation.
At the conference, Vice President Kamala Harris declared that the U.S. would allocate $3 billion in taxpayer funds to climate initiatives, with a specific focus on gender equity. EPA Administrator Michael Regan and White House National Climate Adviser Ali Zaidi, also present in Dubai, emphasized the administration’s dedication to combating methane pollution. Zaidi highlighted the administration’s multifaceted approach, which includes investing in infrastructure improvements and establishing rigorous pollution standards for the oil and gas industry.
The new EPA rule mandates the oil and gas industry to cease routine flaring, the traditional practice of controlled natural gas burning, and to instead capture the gas. This practice of flaring has been a common process since the early days of oil production, about 160 years ago.
However, the American Petroleum Institute (API), while supportive of regulating methane emissions, has expressed concerns. The API, along with the Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA) and the American Exploration and Production Council, submitted feedback to the EPA, cautioning that the proposed methane emission rules could impede innovation, affect U.S. energy production, and potentially lead to increased energy costs.
Industry commentators, like Tom Shepstone, have voiced their opinions on the matter to Just The News. Shepstone acknowledges the importance of emission reduction but criticizes the Biden administration’s approach as overly aggressive, aimed at diminishing fossil fuel usage.
Despite the oil and gas industry reporting significant reductions in methane emissions in major U.S. basins between 2018 and 2022, with declines ranging from 18% to 77%, the Biden administration continues to impose stricter regulations on the sector. This follows a trend of increasing environmental standards set by the administration in recent years.