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August 23, 2015

EPA Releases Draft Regulation On Methane Emissions

As part of its continued effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) last week issued a draft regulation that calls for reducing methane gas emissions by 40 to 45 percent from their 2012 levels by 2025. 

According to Bloomberg, the rule would have a major impact on U.S. energy producers. Based on a report by Oppenheimer, the news service said the proposed regulation “threatens to wipe out marginal drillers already teetering on the edge of closing because of low oil and natural gas prices.” Bloomberg also said representatives from the energy industry argued they have already successfully reduced methane emissions and, as such, the regulation is “duplicative” of those efforts. 

As a member of the Partnership for a Better Energy Future (PBEF), MSCI will oppose this regulation, which will increase costs for all energy consumers. The PBEF issued a statement after the EPA released its draft in which National Association of Manufacturers’ Director of Energy and Resources Policy Greg Bertelsen argued, “This proposed rule adds to a growing suite of regulations that threaten manufacturers’ energy advantage by increasing costs and making it more difficult to access the resources needed to fuel our facilities.” Bertelsen reminded readers that “manufacturers need increased access to reliable and affordable energy to foster innovation, encourage new investments and remain competitive in today’s global economy.” Bertelsen concluded, by raising costs for U.S. manufacturers, the rule, “coupled with the Administration’s planned ozone rule and Clean Power Plan, will have the opposite effect.” 

The EPA’s news release announcing its proposal is available here. The complete draft rule is available here. Interested parties have 60 days to comment on the rule after it is published in the Federal Register; the EPA is hoping to finalize the regulation some time next year.