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EPA’s Efforts To Curb Methane Emissions Suffers A Setback As 13 States Sue

CREDIT: AP PHOTO/CHARLES REX ARBOGAST, FILE
CREDIT: AP PHOTO/CHARLES REX ARBOGAST, FILE

Thirteen states have sued the Obama administration over the EPA’s new rules for methane emissions from the oil and gas industry.

The lawsuit, filed by West Virginia and backed by twelve other states, argues that the new rules are unnecessary and would add burdensome costs for oil and gas producers.

“This is yet another example of unlawful federal overreach jeopardizing West Virginia jobs and working families,” Morrisey said in a statement. “The rules are a solution in search of a problem and ignore the industry’s success in voluntarily reducing methane emissions from these sources to a 30-year low.”

The rule, finalized in May, would limit methane emissions from new oil and gas infrastructure, and would require operators to submit to semi-annual or quarterly monitoring. Under the new rule, the EPA estimates that emissions from existing oil and gas operations would drop by 11 million tons of CO2 equivalent annually by 2025 — the equivalent of taking more than 2 million cars off the road.

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Last spring, the EPA revised its methane emissions totals for the United States, after discovering that emissions from the oil and gas industry were higher than initially thought. The oil and gas industry produces about a third of total U.S. methane emissions, and is the largest methane-emitting sector in the country.

BREAKING: EPA Finalizes Methane Rule For New Oil And Gas OperationsClimate by CREDIT: AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast The Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday issued its final rule…thinkprogress.orgThat’s bad news for climate change because methane is an incredibly potent greenhouse gas, 86 times more efficient at trapping heat over a 20-year period than carbon dioxide. Studies have shown that the methane emissions associated with natural gas operations effectively nullify the climate benefits of transitioning the energy sector to natural gas-burning power plants, putting it on par with sources like coal in terms of climate-warming greenhouse gas emissions.

The thirteen-state lawsuit — which includes Alabama, Arizona, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Montana, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Wisconsin, as well as state departments in Kentucky and North Carolina — is not the first time the methane rules have been challenged in court. North Dakota, which saw huge financial benefits during its oil boom a few years ago, filed its own lawsuit in July.