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Manufacturers Want Methane Rule Tossed

The National Association of Manufacturers is asking US lawmakers to “disapprove” of a rule enacted in November 2016 — one that regulates methane emissions from oil and gas operations on federal and tribal lands.

“The regulation, commonly referred to the Venting and Flaring Rule or Methane Rule, requires additional and costly measures for oil and gas activities … but fails to accurately account for technological limitations and market realities,” writes Aric Newhouse, senior vice president of the association, in a letter.

The cost, he says, will be borne by manufacturers that rely on such a feedstock to run their processes or as compounds that go into everyday products.

If lawmakers agree with the manufacturers’ logic, he adds it would put a halt to the final rule enacted by the Bureau of Land Management on November 18, 2016.

President Obama’s Department of Interior had a different take:

Roughly 375 billion cubic feet of methane has entered the atmosphere over five years, ending 2014, says the Interior Department. If that methane was captured and resold, it could not just cut the level of heat-trapping emissions but it could also go to productive use by helping heat homes and businesses.

A General Accountability Office study says that 40 percent of that could be captured, meaning that investments in current technologies could easily pay off.

It was part of a broader move that the Obama administration had been pursuing to cut the level of methane gas emissions by 40-45 percent by the year 2025, from 2012 levels. The Environmental Protection Agency had been leading the charge. EPA had found that the amount of methane that had been leaked into the atmosphere during the production and piping of the unconventional shale gas fell by 20 percent from 1990 to 2010 because of tougher regulations and better equipment.

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