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Lawless EPA Issues New Methane Rule to Cripple U.S. O&G Drilling

Lawless EPA Issues New Methane Rule to Cripple U.S. O&G Drilling

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Marcellus Drilling News
Article by Jim Willis

The gloves are now off and everything is out in the open: President Barack Hussein Obama wants to destroy the oil and gas industry in the United States of America. Yesterday Obama’s preferred tool of destruction, the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), released a plan that brings the jackboots of the federal government down on the necks of the industry–forcing them to “reduce” methane emissions by 40-45%. Methane, you may recall, is what drillers actually extract from the ground and sell. Methane is what they get paid for–the very thing they are incentivized to capture so they can sell it. Drillers have reduced their methane emissions–the stuff leaking out around the edges–by at least 40-45% over the past few years. In other words, the industry is already doing what the EPA wants them to do. Which means this action is a blatant attempt at stifling drilling in this country. Let us be crystal clear: This action by the EPA is illegal. This is an outright attempt to regulate the oil and gas industry, contrary to the U.S. Constitution which reserves such regulation to the individual states. Just have a look at the so-called “rule” the EPA has published (all 591 pages of it). It is a top to bottom set of unlegislated regulations that will put all oil an gas drilling in the regulatory hands of the EPA.

This is a big and important story, so we’ve broken it into several posts. Below, in this post, is the EPA press release–a masterful propaganda spin job–along with a copy of the 591-page “rule” the EPA will first publish in the Federal Register, and then, 60 days later, adopt as an unlegislated law that will become of the law of the land governing oil and gas drilling. All done through the back door of trying to reduce methane emissions as a way of controlling mythical global warming.

Here’s what the Joseph Goebbels PR department at the EPA issued yesterday:

Continuing the Obama Administration’s commitment to take action on climate change and protect public health, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is announcing commonsense proposed standards today that would reduce emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG) and volatile organic compounds (VOC) from the oil and natural gas industry. The proposal is a part of the Administration’s strategy under President Obama’s Climate Action Plan to cut methane emissions from the oil and gas sector by 40 to 45 percent from 2012 levels by 2025.

Methane, the key constituent of natural gas, is a potent GHG with a global warming potential more than 25 times greater than that of carbon dioxide. Methane is the second most prevalent greenhouse gas emitted in the United States from human activities, and nearly 30 percent of those emissions come from oil production and the production, transmission and distribution of natural gas.

“Today, through our cost-effective proposed standards, we are underscoring our commitment to reducing the pollution fueling climate change and protecting public health while supporting responsible energy development, transparency and accountability,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “Cleaner-burning energy sources like natural gas are key compliance options for our Clean Power Plan and we are committed to ensuring safe and responsible production that supports a robust clean energy economy.”

The proposed standards for new and modified sources are expected to reduce 340,000 to 400,000 short tons of methane in 2025, the equivalent of reducing 7.7 to 9 million metric tons of carbon dioxide. EPA estimates the rule will yield net climate benefits of $120 to $150 million in 2025. Those standards are also expected to reduce 170,000 to 180,000 tons of ozone-forming VOCs in 2025, along with 1,900 to 2,500 tons of air toxics, such as benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylene. Ozone is linked to a variety of serious public health effects, including reduced lung function, asthma attacks, asthma development, emergency room visits and hospital admissions, and early death from respiratory and cardiovascular causes. Air toxics include chemicals that are known or suspected to cause cancer and other serious health effects.

The proposed standards will complement voluntary efforts, including EPA’s Methane Challenge Program, and are based on practices and technology currently used by industry. To cut methane and VOC emissions, the proposal requires:

· Finding and repairing leaks;
· Capturing natural gas from the completion of hydraulically fractured oil wells;
· Limiting emissions from new and modified pneumatic pumps; and
· Limiting emissions from several types of equipment used at natural gas transmission compressor stations, including compressors and pneumatic controllers.

EPA’s Methane Challenge Program that was proposed earlier this year expands on the successful Natural Gas STAR program, which serves as a platform for companies who want to make an ambitious and transparent commitments to address methane emissions. This flexible program has the potential to foster significant cost-effective emission reductions across the oil and gas sector and to provide transparency on the progress partner companies are making to reduce emissions.
As part of the proposal announced today, the agency is updating the 2012 New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) to address methane as well as VOC emissions for sources covered in that rule. EPA’s proposal would also require that industry reduce VOC and methane emissions from hydraulically fractured and refractured oil wells, which can contain significant amounts of natural gas along with oil. In addition, the proposal means methane and VOC reductions “downstream” from wells and production sites, covering equipment in the natural gas transmission segment of the industry that was not regulated in the agency’s 2012 oil and natural gas rules. Additionally, the agency proposes to clarify and streamline Clean Air Act permitting requirements in states and Indian country.

Today’s proposal includes proposed guidelines for states to reduce VOC emissions from existing oil and gas sources in certain ozone nonattainment areas as well as mid-Atlantic and Northeast states that are part of the Ozone Transport Region.

EPA will take comment on the proposals for 60 days after they are published in the Federal Register. The agency will hold public hearings and will announce details soon.

More information, including technical fact sheets, is available at http://www.epa.gov/airquality/oilandgas/actions.html*

*Environmental Protection Agency (Aug 18, 2015) – EPA Proposes New Commonsense Measures to Cut Methane Emissions from the Oil and Gas Sector/Proposal Cuts GHG Emissions, Reduces Smog-Forming Air Pollution and Provides Certainty for Industry
Below is a copy of the 591-page “rule” that empowers the EPA to control every aspect of drilling, including: centrifugal compressors, reciprocating compressors, pneumatic controllers, pneumatic pumps, well completions, compressor stations, “liquids unloading operations”, natural gas processing plants, and storage tanks. There is hardly any area of oil and gas drilling untouched by this new “rule”. Every single thing the EPA seeks to control comes under the purview of the individual states. The EPA has no right to assume the power to control these things–whether in the name of mythical global warming or not. They have taken an illegal action.

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