NEWS & ANALYSIS

Flintstones, Meet the Flintstones: Biden & EPA to Send America Back to Stone Age, Push Anti-Energy Agenda


The Biden administration said Tuesday that for the first time, it will heavily regulate methane – a potent greenhouse gas that comes from oil and natural gas operations. 

Indeed, for the first time, the Environmental Protection Agency will limit the methane coming from a million oil and gas rigs across the United States in efforts to control and push the anti-energy agenda, the New York Times reports

The government previously had rules aimed to prevent methane leaks from oil and gas rigs since 2015, but Trump rescinded them. Biden intends to restore and strengthen them, according to White House aides. 

The new rules would require what the Environmental Protection Agency calls “a comprehensive monitoring program to require companies to find and fix leaks” applying across operations, including wells, pipes and storage tanks. It includes provisions to encourage the use of new technology such as drones for more effective monitoring. 

The EPA said the new regulations will reduce methane emissions by approximately 74 percent by 2030.

“There is no doubt that this proposal is taking a very bold and aggressive step towards tackling climate pollution,” EPA Administrator Michael Regan said, per the Wall Street Journal. “The timing is critical here…world leaders are gathering in Glasgow and they’re looking to the United States for leadership.”

The announcement comes as Biden is in Glasgow this week for a United Nations climate summit, where he is working to persuade other countries to reduce emissions from fossil fuels. Biden has faced pressure both internationally and nationally to show that the United States is serious about managing climate change. 

The problem is that while much of methane emissions – 30 percent – do come from man-made sources, they also come from natural sources: swamps, rotting vegetation, agricultural livestock, etc. 

Biden has also proposed spending a whopping $555 billion to cut greenhouse gas emissions, but that proposal is still pending congressional approval. A key element – a $150 billion program to push utilities to draw more power from clean-energy sources – was cut under pressure from Sen. Joe Manchin. 

A separate effort in Congress would impose a fee on methane leaks from oil and gas wells, designed to raise revenue and lower greenhouse pollution. The fee would apply to the largest oil and gas producers that emit over 25,000 tons of greenhouse gases per year. The companies would pay $900 per ton of leaked methane beginning in 2024 and the fee would increase to $1,500 per ton from 2026 to 2030.