Correction: An earlier version of this piece and headline said Republicans are gearing up to eliminate the EPA's methane reductions rule. That is incorrect as the GOP is preparing to eliminate the Bureau of Land Management's venting and flaring rule. We also incorrectly said the BLM rule will boost the natural gas prices at an average of 0.02% at the wellhead. That has since been corrected.
- Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives are preparing to roll back the Bureau of Land Management's methane rule, which sought to reduce emissions from oil and gas drilling sites as part of a broader environmental push.
- The Hill reports the methane regulation and another focused on stream protection will be the target of Congressional Review Act resolutions that would scrap the rules.
- President Donald Trump has been moving swiftly to act on campaign promises to reduce regulations in the energy sector as well as in other agencies. Yesterday he signed an executive order requiring that two regulations be eliminated for every new rule the agencies pass.
The Trump administration is moving rapidly to fulfill campaign pledges and support energy production, and now Republican lawmakers are lining up to repeal methane restrictions that limit venting and flaring from gas pipelines overseen by the Bureau of Land Management. And while those rules are restricted to the BLM, other rules by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency cutting emissions could also be on the chopping block.
While these rules don't apply to utilities directly, they could have an impact on natural gas prices, which have hovered at an all-time low for the past couple of years.
Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT), who heads the House's House Natural Resources Committee, told the Hill that the methane regulations were "abusive, last minute regulations," and that lawmakers have "an obligation to ensure executive actions are consistent with congressional intent."
Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) has urged his Democratic colleagues to fight for the regulations, and in a letter earlier this month, asked for help in fighting "misguided and destructive" efforts to roll them back.
The Methane Waste Prevention Rule could save up to 41 billion cubic feet of gas annually, Grijalva said in the letter. That volume of gas could fuel almost three-quarters of a million homes for a year, he said. The rule would change venting and flaring standards that are 35 years old.