Biden Administration Moves to Limit Methane, a Potent Greenhouse Gas

The Obama administration has released new draft rules for limiting methane emissions from oil and gas pipelines. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas that traps heat in the atmosphere, contributing to climate change. The latest proposal would restrict how much of it can be leaked during production, transport, storage, and use on public lands. Industry groups have threatened legal action against the rule if they are not satisfied with its implementation by December 2020..

The “administration moves limit methane potent greenhouse” is a recent news article that talks about the Biden Administration’s plans to limit methane, a potent greenhouse gas.

GLASGOW (AP) — On Tuesday, the Biden administration intended to announce that it will tighten regulations on methane, a powerful greenhouse gas emitted by oil and natural gas activities that can warm the climate 80 times faster than carbon dioxide in the near run.

For the first time, the EPA plans to set limits on methane emissions from the nearly one million existing oil and gas rigs throughout the country. The Trump administration revoked prior federal standards aimed at preventing methane leakage from oil and gas wells installed after 2015. According to administration sources, Mr. Biden aims to restore and enhance them.

Mr. Biden is in Glasgow this week for a United Nations climate meeting, where he is attempting to urge other nations to limit fossil-fuel emissions, which are causing the globe to reach catastrophic levels of warming.

Mr. Biden is under enormous pressure both globally and domestically to demonstrate that the United States, which has pumped the most greenhouse emissions into the atmosphere, is serious about addressing climate change.

Mr. Biden has set an ambitious goal of reducing US emissions by 50% below 2005 levels by the end of the decade, but legislation to help him achieve that objective has stagnated in Congress. As a result, the administration will have to depend on regulations and other administrative actions to get things done.

According to top administration officials who briefed media on Monday, the White House will announce several new climate measures on Tuesday, including a strategy to safeguard tropical forests and a drive to speed up clean technologies.

The planned methane regulation, on the other hand, will be the focal point. Mr. Biden said on Monday that 70 nations had joined a coalition headed by the United States and the European Union to reduce global methane emissions by at least 30% by 2030 in an address to international leaders in Glasgow.

Mr. Biden called it the “single most effective method we have to limit global warming in the short term” and urged every country to sign on.

Methane is the second most prevalent greenhouse gas after carbon dioxide, and it is responsible for over a quarter of the current global warming. It dissipates from the atmosphere quicker than carbon dioxide, although it has a greater short-term heating capacity.

Landfills, agriculture, animals, and oil and gas drilling all create methane, which is an odorless, colorless, and combustible gas. During gas generation, it is sometimes burnt or discharged into the atmosphere.

Environmentalists have been more worried about methane’s impact in climate change as atmospheric quantities have risen.

The law, if completed, would eliminate 41 million tons of methane emissions from 2023 to 2035, the equivalent of 920 million metric tons of carbon dioxide, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. According to the EPA, this is greater than the total amount of carbon dioxide released by all passenger automobiles and commercial airplanes in the United States in 2019.

“With this historic action, the Environmental Protection Agency is addressing existing sources of pollution from the oil and natural gas industry across the country, as well as updating rules for new sources, to ensure robust and long-term pollution reductions across the country,” said Michael S. Regan, the agency’s administrator.

Republicans in Congress, on the other hand, said that Mr. Biden’s pledges in Glasgow would harm Americans back home. Senator John Barrasso, a Republican from Wyoming, said in a statement that “the administration intends to eliminate plentiful and inexpensive U.S. energy supplies like oil, natural gas, and coal that Americans rely on.” He described the White House proposals as a “recipe for catastrophe” that would result in a scarcity of cheap electricity.

The methane strategy has split the oil and gas sector.

Karen Harbert, president of the American Gas Association, which represents some of the country’s top producers, said her organization supported additional federal restrictions but had not seen the specifics.


3:01 a.m. ET, November 2, 2021

Methane emissions from natural gas have decreased by 73 percent since 1990, according to Ms. Harbert. “We understand we need to button up and get to that last percentage,” she added. She described regulation as “the finest feasible strategy” to establishing industry-wide standards.

Small oil and gas producers, on the other hand, are concerned that the new laws may impose undue obligations on them, causing them to go out of business.

The new laws might take months to implement, undergo legal battles, and be overturned by a future government, according to analysts.

“When a president attempts to exercise unilateral executive powers, there are obvious roadblocks,” said Barry Rabe, a University of Michigan professor of environmental policy. “It’s going to be a difficult adjustment.”

According to E.P.A. authorities, limiting methane would safeguard public health in addition to lowering greenhouse gas emissions.

Methane is typically accompanied by harmful compounds such as benzene and hydrogen sulfide when discharged into the environment. These contaminants have been related to major health concerns such as asthma and cancer.

Sue Franklin has direct experience with the consequences. She and her husband, Jim, used to reside in Verhalen, a little hamlet in West Texas where oil and gas drilling began in 2014.

Gases escaped from two new wells, causing headaches, nosebleeds, and asthma episodes in the pair.

Ms. Franklin, 70, said she thought she would have respiratory difficulties for the rest of her life when the Franklins relocated roughly 40 miles away.

When Ms. Franklin and her husband flew to Washington, D.C. to oppose new fossil fuel projects, she remarked, “It’s never going to get better; the harm has been done.” New laws controlling oil and gas wells, according to Ms. Franklin, will assist, but only to a degree.

“We were the fortunate ones,” she said. “We were able to go. Others are still dealing with it. I’d want to see them shut down completely.”

A second move in Congress to put a price on methane leaks from oil and gas wells as part of a bigger budget plan has the oil and gas industry unified against it.

The methane charge is intended to generate cash while also reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Experts believe that a two-pronged strategy is required to stop methane leaks.

The levy would be imposed on the biggest oil and gas businesses that generate more than 25,000 tons of greenhouse emissions each year. Starting in 2024, these enterprises will pay $900 per ton of spilled methane, increasing to $1,500 per ton from 2026 to 2030.

Oil and gas companies are working hard to get the methane charge removed from the bill that is now being debated on Capitol Hill.

“This new, poorly constructed natural gas tax, on top of regulatory costs being imposed through compliance with forthcoming E.P.A. methane rules, would be additional costs and punitive taxes that would disadvantage American producers, increase Americans’ energy costs, and cause 90,000 job losses across the country,” Anne Bradbury, CEO of the American Exploration and Production Council, which represents oil and gas companies, said.

In Washington, methane laws have a tumultuous past.

In 2016, President Barack Obama proposed measures to decrease methane emissions from new and upgraded gas wells, which he later completed as he left office. Republicans attempted but failed to repeal them in 2017, citing an obscure statute known as the Congressional Review Act, which empowers legislators to reverse laws within 60 legislative days of their enactment.

As President Donald J. Trump was leaving office, the Interior Department and the Environmental Protection Agency overturned Mr. Obama’s methane limits.

Democrats attempted and succeeded in using the Congressional Review Act in April, voting to overturn Mr. Trump’s rollback.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the proposed regulation would establish a monitoring program that will force corporations to locate and repair methane leaks, also known as “fugitive emissions,” at new and existing well sites and compressor stations.

The technology to minimize methane emissions exists, according to Mark Brownstein, a senior vice president of the Environmental Defense Fund. Vapor recovery systems can be installed in storage tanks, pressure relief valves can’t be caught open, and leaky pipelines can be replaced.

Mr. Brownstein said, “This isn’t rocket science.” “This is car mechanics,” says the narrator.

Coral Davenport contributed to this story with her reporting.

The “Biden Administration Moves to Limit Methane, a Potent Greenhouse Gas” is an article that discusses the recent move by the Biden Administration to limit methane emissions. The article says that methane is one of the most potent greenhouse gases and it’s time for this country to take action. Reference: carbon dioxide.

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