The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) just rolled out new regulations on methane emissions for oil and gas development. These rules come even as the industry has slashed emissions in recent years (while natural gas production has skyrocketed) and even though recent studies have found that methane leakage rates are well below what is required for natural gas to maintain significant climate advantages. Further, data from the EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Inventory show that methane emissions from the oil and gas exploration and production are a mere 1.07 percent of total national greenhouse gas emissions.
These new rules will hit small producers – the biggest economic engine the country has had over the past five years – the hardest. Instead of imposing onerous costs, especially at a time when market forces are already creating economic challenges, EPA should have worked with industry to develop a less burdensome and more cost-effective program.