GOP Considering Repealing Obama’s Methane Rule


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Andrew Follett Energy and Science Reporter
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Republicans are pushing legislation to repeal federal methane rules that could impact communities in the western United States reliant on oil and natural gas.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) released similar rules to reduce methane emissions from oil and natural gas wells. The House already voted to repeal BLM’s methane rule, and that bill is being considered by the Senate.

If successful, the EPA and BLM will be repealed, and the agencies will be barred from crafting similar policies in the future.

Allowing the methane rules to be fully implemented “could have far-reaching financial impacts for the communities that rely on a robust oil and gas industry to keep their economies afloat,” according to an article Tuesday by E&E News.

These methane rules are expected to cost as much as $155 million in 2020 rising to $290 to $400 million by 2025. That’s roughly three times more than EPA’s projected cost, according to a study by National Economic Research Associates.

EPA does not list the amount of temperature increases adverted in the rule’s press release, even though the rule exists just to limit global warming. Industry groups estimate the rule would only cause a temperature drop of 0.0047 degrees Celsius by the year 2100, an amount so small it couldn’t even be detected.

Congress has been repealing numerous Obama-era regulation and executive agency rules using the Congressional Review Act (CRA). Early this month they used CRA to repeal another BLM rule called “Planning 2.0,” which the agency and Democrats claim helps agencies better take care of public lands. Critics, by contrast, claim the regulation seizes power from local officials and could make energy development much more difficult.

Congress and the president already stopped another major Obama-era regulation, called the Stream Protection Rule, which targeted coal mining, as well as a regulation that sharply limits recreational and subsistence fishing and hunting of wildlife in Alaska.

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