Center for American Progress

RELEASE: CAP Paper: EPA’s Methane Rule Would Lower Emissions in a Way Oil and Gas Industry Can Easily Afford
Press Release

RELEASE: CAP Paper: EPA’s Methane Rule Would Lower Emissions in a Way Oil and Gas Industry Can Easily Afford

Washington, D.C. — Earlier this month, the Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA, released a new rule to regulate methane emissions in the oil and gas industry. These standards, when implemented, would help achieve President Barack Obama’s goal of cutting methane emissions by 40 percent to 45 percent of 2012 levels by 2025. They are a critical component of the Obama administration’s efforts to address climate change and would dramatically reduce the amount of dangerous methane gas from being emitted each year. The Center for American Progress released a column today arguing that this rule is an important first step and debunking fossil fuel industry claims that the rule is dangerous to its bottom line.

Methane is an even more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. Over the first 20 years after its release, it is more than 80 times more effective at trapping heat in the atmosphere and is 28 times more effective over the course of 100 years. The oil and gas industry is a chief emitter of this dangerous greenhouse gas and regulating its emissions is one important step in addressing the multipronged issue of combating climate change. CAP shows that implementing this rule would be efficient and cost effective for the industry, shutting down arguments that the rule is bad for business.

“Even in times of low oil prices and unprecedented supply of natural gas, the oil and gas industry is still reporting tens of billions in revenue and billions in profit,” said Myriam Alexander-Kearns, CAP Research Associate and author of the column. “The cost of implementing the EPA’s new rule would take a fraction of the industry’s annual profits. Methane is too dangerous a pollutant to allow the oil and gas industry to cry poverty instead of addressing it.”

The cost to the industry is expected to be low in comparison to annual profits because the technology currently exists to capture methane emissions and prevent them from being sent into the atmosphere. That captured methane can even be sold to offset the cost. In addition to being one step in the fight against climate change, the EPA’s rule would improve human health as methane often goes hand in hand with other pollutants, including smog-forming volatile organic compounds, or VOCs. The same measures to prevent methane from entering the atmosphere would also prevent VOCs from doing the same.

Click here to read the paper.

For more information on this topic or to speak with an expert, contact Tom Caiazza at tcaiazza@americanprogress.org or 202.481.7141.

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