Heartland Institute Experts React to President Obama’s New Methane Emissions Rules

The Barack Obama administration announced Wednesday it would move forward with developing new regulations to cut methane emissions generated by the oil and gas industry. The White House announced plans to cut methane emissions by 40-45 percent by the year 2025 from levels recorded in 2012, according to the preliminary plan.

The following statements from energy and environment policy experts at The Heartland Institute – a free-market think tank – may be used for attribution. For more comments, refer to the contact information below. To book a Heartland guest on your program, please contact Director of Communications Jim Lakely at [email protected] and 312/377-4000 or (cell) 312/731-9364.

“Contrary to radical environmentalists’ claims, Methane is NOT an important greenhouse gas (GHG); it has a totally negligible impact on climate. Attempts to control methane emissions make little sense. The recently announced Jan. 14 White House plan to reduce emissions by 40‒45 percent by 2025 is based on shoddy science.”

S. Fred Singer
Senior Fellow, Environment
The Heartland Institute
Science and Environmental Policy Project
[email protected]

“Once again, without any reason other than to please his radical environmental constituents, President Obama is making it harder for the oil and gas industry to do business, and all for no environmental or public health benefit. Acting like an imperial president with no respect for the nation’s Constitution, Obama is again avoiding Congress, relying on regulations to effectively create new laws he couldn’t legally pass.

“America already has the cleanest oil and gas production industry in the world. Indeed, because the loss of emissions through pipelines, at well pads, and in refineries is so low, our energy industry is the envy of the world. If it made economic sense to capture the relatively few emissions escaping, industry would already be doing it.

“There is no study that shows emissions at current levels are a threat to public health or the environment.”

H. Sterling Burnett
Research Fellow, Environment & Energy Policy
The Heartland Institute
Managing Editor, Environment & Climate News
[email protected]

“If there is one thing this president excels at more than any other, it’s taking credit for things he had nothing to do with. The latest rules under consideration by the administration to regulate the amount of methane emitted from oil and natural gas production is just the latest in this ongoing saga.

“The administration has announced it wants to cut methane emissions from oil and gas operations by 40‒45 percent by 2025 from the 2012 levels, but methane emissions from natural gas systems have already fallen 14.3 percent from 2008 to 2012, and emissions from natural gas hydraulic fracturing operations have fallen 73 percent from 2011 to 2013.

“It is concerning the administration did not provide a cost assessment for the new rules, but if the previous rules intended to combat climate change are any indication, they will be expensive and not very effective.

“Sadly, expensive and not very effective will likely be this president’s legacy, and my generation (the millennials) and our children will be the ones who are around to suffer the consequences.”

Isaac Orr
Research Fellow, Energy and Environment Policy
The Heartland Institute
[email protected]

“For decades, every president has embraced the goal of energy independence. Now that the United States is the world’s biggest energy producer ‒ though suffering as a victim of its own success ‒ President Obama is embarking on a crazed plan that will kick our nation’s oil-and-gas producers while they are down.

“His edicts against industry will be most detrimental to the smaller, independent producers who can least afford an additional layer of cost at a time when they are struggling to hang on and live out the American dream. Despite his new push to tamp down America’s energy abundance, I’m willing to bet he will likely, once again, engage in flowery rhetoric during Tuesday’s State of the Union address to take credit for the United States’ positive energy position. When will the president stop setting policies that push America back rather than empower individuals and businesses to innovate?”

Marita Noon
Executive Director
Citizens Alliance for Responsible Energy
[email protected]

The Heartland Institute is a 30-year-old national nonprofit organization headquartered in Chicago, Illinois. Its mission is to discover, develop, and promote free-market solutions to social and economic problems. For more information, visit our website or call 312/377-4000.