Texas oil industry leader calls new EPA rules on methane emissions key for economic recovery

By Sarah Downey

Newly released U.S. Environmental Protection (EPA) rollbacks on methane emissions are designed to ease regulations for energy producers by eliminating duplicative requirements and restructuring others.

The new rules were announced this month in response to President Donald Trump’s executive order on Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth.

The impact will reduce financial burdens on the energy sector and help accelerate economic recovery, Todd Staples, president of the Texas Oil & Gas Association (TXOGA), said in an email to The Center Square.

“In comments filed with the EPA, TXOGA expressed support for the agency’s now-adopted proposal because it acknowledged the Clean Air Act requires a particular finding that the pollutant and source category significantly contributes to the endangerment of health and the environment, prior to regulation,” Staples said. “We support EPA’s efforts that acknowledge industry’s climate progress and that legal process must be followed, both of which foster an effective regulatory environment that encourages innovation and advancement.”

Altogether, the two final rules are expected to result in net benefits of $750 million to $850 million in the next decade, the EPA said in a news release.

“EPA has been working hard to fulfill President Trump’s promise to cut burdensome and ineffective regulations for our domestic energy industry,” EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said. “Regulatory burdens put into place by the Obama-Biden Administration fell heavily on small and medium-sized energy businesses. Today’s regulatory changes remove redundant paperwork, align with the Clean Air Act, and allow companies the flexibility to satisfy leak-control requirements by complying with equivalent state rules.”

Policiesy that support pioneering technologies, innovations and advancements allow the industry to develop and deploy cleaner energy technologies and superior emissions control systems, Staples of the TXOGA said.

“The Texas oil and natural gas industry is successfully reducing methane emissions, even during a period when oil and natural gas production increased dramatically,” Staples added. “Innovations, pioneering technologies, efficiencies, and industry-led initiatives, like the Texas Methane and Flaring Coalition, have led to improved environmental performance and demonstrate the industry’s commitment to finding and implementing solutions to achieve climate progress.”

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