The Trump administration’s move to roll back Obama-era regulations on methane leakage will not only harm the environment — they will do nothing to boost American energy production and will produce negligible savings for industry, while rewarding companies that defied the rules, according to a new op-ed from the Washington Post editorial board.
- Methane natural gas is much cleaner burning than coal, but when released into the atmosphere uncombusted, it is also a far more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, with 80 times the heat trapping capacity.
- Rules formulated by the EPA under the previous administration were intended to force natural gas producers to reduce the amount of natural gas leaked into the atmosphere, using relatively inexpensive fixes that have already been embraced by several big fossil fuel producers.
- Rolling back the EPA rules now would punish companies which complied with the previous rules while rewarding a handful of “superemitters” which never toed the line.
- The rule change would also save the natural gas industry at large all of $19 million per year — a negligible amount given total U.S. natural gas industry revenues of over $100 billion per year.