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Inhofe Statement on EPA’s Regulatory Methane Proposal 

WASHINGTON, DC - U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), chairman of the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, released the following statement today on the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) plan to impose new methane regulations to stifle the U.S. oil and gas industry:

“EPA’s new proposal to regulate methane emissions is not only unnecessary, but another example of the administration’s punitive expansion of their war on fossil fuels.  The oil and gas industry has proven success in reducing methane emissions on their own, even while  increasing production levels significantly.  The administration’s own data reveals that there has been a decrease in methane emissions from domestic energy producers.  The miniscule fraction of greenhouse gas emissions made up by methane emissions from oil and gas production makes this yet another regulation from the Obama administration that will have no tangible impact on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.  As Chairman of the Senate EPW Committee, I plan on conducting rigorous oversight of this rule as it moves forward and will hold a hearing on this subject in the fall.  Our committee will take action to follow up on previous oversight letters and hearings where industry leaders from Oklahoma and across the nation have testified on EPA’s misuse of methane data and their ongoing efforts to attack a thriving, critical domestic industry.  I look forward to ‎joining my colleagues in coming months to fight back on the administration’s attempt to continue punishing American workers and families to further their costly climate agenda.”

On June 11, Sen. Jim Inhofe led Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), chairman of the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources (ENR) Committee, and Sens. David Vitter (R-La.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), in a letter to President Obama opposing new federal mandates regulating methane emissions from the oil and natural gas sector.  The full text of the letter can be read here.

On March 20, Inhofe introduced S. 828, The Fracturing Regulations are Effective in State Hands (FRESH) Act, which would recognize hydraulic fracturing as a commercial practice and keep regulations under state management.

On February 12, Inhofe introduced S. 490, the Federal Land Freedom Act of 2015, which would give states the authority to establish programs to lease, permit, and regulate the development of all forms of energy resources, including renewables, on federal lands within their border.

On June 19, 2012, Darren Smith, environmental manager at Devon Energy Corporation, testified before the Senate EPW Committee exposing EPA’s flawed analysis behind air regulations on the oil and natural gas industries.  Smith also explained that EPA’s “misperception of initial production from gas wells has ‘led to a drastic overestimate of methane emissions from hydraulically fractured gas wells’ and this has allowed EPA to justify the promulgation of new air standards for the natural gas industry.’” To watch the full testimony, click here.

This is EPA’s fourth attempt to regulate the oil and gas industry in U.S. Indian territories, and was the subject of an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking last year.