What do EPA’s Methane Rules Mean for the Energy Economy?

*Live morning webcast 9/29*

Around the country, people are talking about methane. Last week hundreds showed up to testify at public hearings in Dallas and Denver, weighing in on the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposal to fight oil and gas methane pollution.

Tomorrow, EPA will hear from many more stakeholders in Pittsburgh, while a panel of experts that EDF is convening in Washington, DC, will discuss how we can cost-effectively reduce methane pollution using technologies already on the market.

The public hearings have largely reflected the concerns of local communities impacted by oil and gas industry air pollution. This is important as an overwhelming majority of voters support EPA’s proposal and view new rules as reasonable and necessary. This is hardly a surprise considering the oil and gas industry wastes over 7 million tons of methane pollution into the air every year, representing enough gas to heat 5 million homes and $1.2 billion dollars (at current prices) that could otherwise help boost our local economies. This tonnage of methane leakage also packs the same short-term warming power as 160 coal-fired power plants each year.

Though the energy waste and pollution is enormous, cutting methane emissions is not an insurmountable problem. That’s what you can expect to hear from tomorrow’s discussion hosted by The Hill titled, “Powering the Economy: A Discussion on Natural Gas, Methane Policy, and American Business.”

Event speakers include leaders from the field such as Martha Rudolph, a Colorado regulator involved in issuing and implementing Colorado’s first-in-the-nation methane rules and Southwestern Energy, an oil and gas operator already integrating methane reduction into their business practice. A comprehensive national policy can provide a level playing field for the entire energy economy, which in turn can boost investor confidence in the energy sector, as speaker Bryan Rice of the California State Teachers' Retirement System (CalSTRS) will likely mention.

FLIR, a company in the methane mitigation industry, will also be speaking about the the proven, straightforward and cost-effective solutions available to reduce methane pollution, and call attention to places where jobs have grown, including Colorado and Wyoming, despite tighter limits on oil and gas pollution being put into place.

We expect tomorrow’s discussion on EPA’s proposal to be a lively one, bringing in a range of perspectives to discuss why it is important to reduce methane, what oil and gas operators can do to limit these emissions using available technology, what EPA’s proposal might achieve and how it can be implemented at manageable cost to industry, and the overall impact that these policies might have on the American energy economy.

Join the conversation online via Twitter at #MethaneForum and by watching the live webcast.

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