The EPA estimates that the proposed new amendments would save the oil and gas industry $17 to $19 million per year. While this may sound like a lot of money, it pales in comparison to the economic value to be gained by minimizing leakage. We estimate that reducing methane emissions from 2.3% to 1% would result in an annual revenue of over a half billion dollars per year, which is more than 30 times the estimated savings from rolling back the regulations. Many oil and gas companies recognize this fact, and they also recognize that regulations are needed to ensure that all companies are held to the same standard.
Our experience working closely with over 20 industry partners has shown that industry can provide leadership in sharing best operational practices, developing comprehensive leak detection and repair programs, piloting these new technologies and constructively engaging with the regulatory process. Our experience in Colorado, which has developed some of the nation’s strictest methane emissions regulations, also strongly suggests that government regulations are needed to ensure that best practices become standard practices.
In the end, we believe the Trump administration’s efforts to roll back regulations, without regard to their efficacy, not only will worsen climate change but also will affect the health and safety of U.S. citizens and undercut the natural gas industry’s efforts to produce and promote natural gas as a clean fossil fuel – a fossil fuel that integrates well with renewable sources.
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Anthony J. Marchese, Associate Dean for Academic and Student Affairs, Walter Scott, Jr. College of Engineering; Director, Engines and Energy Conversion Laboratory; Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering and Energy Institute Affiliate Faculty, Colorado State University and Dan Zimmerle, Senior Research Associate, Energy Institute, Colorado State University