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CRAMER: EPA Methane Rules Add More Regulatory Burden to North Dakota’s Oil and Gas Industry

May 12, 2016
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Congressman Kevin Cramer made the following statement on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) final methane emission rules for the oil and natural gas industry released today. 

“We need all our resources to be successful, but this administration, under the direction of extreme environmentalists, continues to pick winners and losers.  Today’s final methane regulations from the EPA are yet another one-size-fits-all sledge hammer on the fossil fuel industry.  Interestingly enough, methane is pretty much natural gas, which is a product this industry sells.  They’re not in the business of wasting methane any more than a farmer is interested in wasting his harvest.  Regulations, when necessary, need to be tailored to the diverse geography across the United States and overseen by the very people living in those communities, not the federal government.”

The New Source Performance Standard rule finalized today is a revision of  the 2012 finalized rule to now include methane for the first time.  States currently regulate methane emissions through conservation policies with the goal of preventing the waste of resources, such as methane or natural gas. Today’s announcement also mandates information submissions from the industry to the EPA for the purpose of writing new rules for existing oil and natural gas facilities to include methane, a rule to clarify when multiple pieces of equipment and activities in the industry are deemed a single source for regulatory purposes, and a rule to implement the Minor New Source Review Program on tribal lands.

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is also working to finalize a rule to regulate methane emissions for oil and natural gas production on federal lands or where federal minerals exist. 

“The BLM rule is not only duplicative of state efforts to conserve our resources, but attempts to assert authority to regulate where the EPA and State Health Department have authority,” said Cramer.  “If the BLM is interested in reducing waste it should approve rights-of-way and permits in a more timely manner to get the infrastructure built to deliver this product to market.”

Cramer sent a letter with 13 of his House colleagues urging the public comment period of the BLM rule be extended by at least 60 days. He also sent a letter with 42 of his House colleagues to the House Appropriations Committee urging a prevention of funding for both the EPA and BLM methane rules.