Gary Palmer opposes new EPA methane rule that punishes energy production

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U.S. Rep. Gary Palmer (AL-06) is taking a stand against the Environment Protection Agency‘s newly proposed rule that would apply to new or modified oil or natural gas sources. The proposal aims to cut methane by 40 to 45 percent of the 2012 levels by 2025 and would require drillers to plug leaks and capture lost gas in wells intended to extract only oil.

The EPA said the move was a commitment by the Obama administration to take action on climate change and protect public health. However, Palmer believes the rule is designed to discourage the development of America’s vast untapped energy reserves and to increase the cost of energy and will disproportionally hurt the poorest and most vulnerable Americans.

“In 2014, the EPA noted that methane emission from fracking has fallen 73 percent since 2011, and overall methane emission from U.S. natural gas emissions has declined by at least 15 percent percent since 1990,’’ said Palmer, a member of the U.S. House Science, Space and Technology Subcommittee on Environment“The research noted that a small number of sites accounted for the majority of those emissions, suggesting that technology already in use across the industry is effectively managing methane leakage.”

Chairman of the U.S. House Science, Space and Technology Committee, U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith (TX-21), shares Palmer’s concerns saying this is another sign of the EPA’s opposition to responsible energy development.

“The EPA’s proposed methane rule is yet another example of the Obama administration’s war on American energy jobs,” Smith said. “The EPA’s own data shows that methane emissions in the United States decreased by almost 15 percent between 1990 and 2013, yet EPA is forging ahead with this extraneous and unnecessary regulation. EPA should stop.

According to the EPA’s own data, the current leakage rate is only about 1.5 percent, well within the recommended limits of the scientific community’s standard of 2-3 percent of total production.

“EPA’s data seems to agree that we’re controlling methane leakage,’’ Palmer said. “And data from a high profile environmental group like the Environmental Defense Fund implies methane emissions are not a problem. So this begs the question, why is the EPA proposing unnecessary regulations?”

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