The guidelines provide recommendations that states can use to make rules to reduce these emissions but is not “a regulation itself,” the EPA says. “This document does not impose any requirements on facilities in the oil and natural gas industry.”
But it still received instant push-back from the oil and gas industry.
The American Petroleum Institute (API) said the EPA and states should not pile on additional guidelines and regulations.
“Moving forward with these guidelines without robust data could impose unachievable emission reduction requirements on the industry, while adding potentially significant costs to the American economy, jobs, consumers and the environment,” said API senior director of regulatory and scientific affairs Howard J. Feldman in a statement. “Air quality has already improved dramatically over the past two decades and will continue to improve as the industry continues to deploy innovative technologies and the EPA and states implement existing standards, which are the most stringent ever.”
US carbon emissions have reached 25-year lows, in part because power companies are using natural gas instead of coal to produce electricity. At the same time renewable energy generation, which does not produce any CO2, is increasing.
Feldman said before imposing any new rules on the oil and gas industry, the EPA should finish collecting and analyzing industry data about methane leaks — part of the agency’s rule-making process as it develops regulations to limit these releases from existing oil and gas wells. He said this will ensure “any additional regulatory decisions would be based on sound science and better informed on actual emissions and cost impacts for existing sources.”