Inhofe Statement on EPA’s Announcement on Methane Regulations

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), chairman of the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, released a statement today in response to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) announcement of methane regulations on new and modified sources of oil and gas systems:

“There is no reason to impose regulations on our nation's oil and gas sector when the industry is already voluntarily reducing methane emissions. The fact remains that methane emissions from oil and gas systems are only a mere 3.5 percent of total domestic greenhouse gas emissions, yet this administration has undertaken at least five significant efforts aimed at punitively attacking this industry for a non-existent problem. Despite the president’s war on fossil fuels, oil and gas production, primarily on private lands, has skyrocketed 26 percent while methane emissions have been reduced by more than 40 percent between 2006 and 2012. This was done without any federal mandate and the industry continues to voluntarily develop new technologies and practices to improve on this trend. These costly mandates will hinder economic growth and job creation for no meaningful environmental benefit. There is no need to target our domestic energy industry that has served a source of light during President Obama’s anemic economic recovery. EPA’s actions are politically driven, unnecessary, and geared solely toward getting these regulations out the door before President Obama leaves office.”



On April 13, Inhofe joined Sens. James Lankford (R-Okla.) and John Barrasso (R-Wy.) in sending a letter to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs Administrator Howard Shelanski on the Bureau of Land Management’s proposed rule for waste prevention of methane emissions. 

On April 13, Inhofe joined Lankford in sending a letter to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs Administrator Howard Shelanski on the EPA’s social cost of methane estimates in its proposed rule for methane emissions from the oil and gas sector.

On March 10, Inhofe released a statement after the Obama administration announced a pact with Justin Trudeau, prime minister of Canada, to reduce methane emissions from new and existing sources.

On Jan. 22, Inhofe released a statement after the Bureau of Land Management announcement proposing their new methane rule.

On Dec. 4, 2015, Inhofe sent a letter to EPA Administrator McCarthy raising concerns over EPA’s application of the social cost of the methane (SCM) in the EPA’s proposed rule for methane emissions from the oil and gas sector. 

On Nov. 20, 2015, Inhofe wrote to McCarthy requesting EPA extend the public comment period to allow adequate review of EPA’s proposed methane rule along with a similar rule proposed by the Bureau of Land Management.

On June 11, 2015, seven Senate EPW members sent a letter to President Obama regarding plans for regulating methane from the oil and gas sector, and specifically asked whether a social cost of methane estimate would be used in the expected rule.  The senate EPW committee has yet to receive a response.  EPA released the proposed rule on August 18, and it was published in the Federal Register on September 18.  EPA requested comments on the rule as well as the social cost of methane estimates.

On Sept. 3, 2014, Sen. Inhofe sent a letter to the Obama administration raising questions about its Methane Strategy White Papers, which formed the basis of today’s regulations. The administration has not sufficiently responded to this letter, nor has it conducted the requested review of existing regulations to determine how they might be relaxed to promote greater capture of methane emissions instead of issuing new regulations.