Public Weighs In On Proposed EPA Methane Emissions Rule

Date: September 25, 2015

Rules To Cost Industry Hundreds Of Millions Annually

The EPA this week began a series of public hearings on its proposed methane emissions regulations, which are designed to curb emissions by between 40% and 45% by 2025 compared to 2012 levels. The regulations, first announced in August, are projected to cost industry between $320 million and $420 million annually by 2025. However, the EPA projects they would decrease healthcare costs as well as provide “other benefits” amounting to savings of between $460 million and $550 million annually, the AP reported. On Wednesday, EPA officials heard from proponents and opponents of the regulations during public meetings in Denver and Dallas. In Denver, Western Energy Alliance president Kathleen Sgamma asked why oil and gas producers are “being singled out,” adding, “We are losing sight of that larger climate change benefit. Natural gas still delivers a huge climate change benefit.” However, former Colorado Air Quality Control Commission member John Lowey argued “methane is a far more powerful greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide,” and that the EPA’s regulations “should go further and incorporate two provisions of Colorado’s first-in-the-nation state regulations on methane by including existing wells as well as new ones, and requiring more work to detect and repair methane leaks in oil and gas equipment.”

What Happens Next

The EPA will hold another public meeting in Pittsburgh next week. The deadline for the public to weigh in on the regulations comes Oct. 18, 60 days after they were announced. After that deadline, the EPA will draft its final rule, likely to be issued in 2016.

What This Means For Small Businesses

Overzealous regulation by the EPA is costly to small businesses in a variety of sectors. This latest proposal is aimed directly at job creators in the energy industry, including many small businesses serving larger oil and gas companies. Forcing methane emissions reductions will negatively impact the bottom lines of businesses across the US as they attempt to deal with the higher costs of monitoring and reducing emissions. Additionally, fuel costs could rise, and these costs will be passed on to consumers, including small businesses, through higher utility bills or increased costs for goods and services.

Additional Reading

The Denver Post also covers the EPA public hearing in Denver. NFIB has previously spoken out against burdensome EPA regulations, including efforts by the agency to reduce methane emissions.

Note: this article is intended to keep small business owners up on the latest news. It does not necessarily represent the policy stances of NFIB.

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