The oil industry is finally suing the EPA over their methane regulations

Regular readers are already familiar with our ongoing coverage of the EPA’s preposterous new methane regulations which fly in the face of their own findings regarding the science of atmospheric emissions. While challenges to these rules are still making their way through the courts, the energy industry has now apparently had enough of the nonsense. This week the American Petroleum Institute (API) brought suit against Gina McCarthy and the EPA for essentially abusing their authority and violating their own rules regarding industry regulation. (Daily Caller)

The American Petroleum Institute (API) sued the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Tuesday evening, claiming the agency violated its own rules to regulate methane emissions.

API, a trade association that represents America’s oil and natural gas industry, filed a lawsuit stating the EPA violated federal regulations to reinterpret parts of the Clean Air Act, so that it could regulate methane. The association has called on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia to review the agency’s actions.

“The Clean Air Act provides specific limitations on the way the EPA can develop regulations,” Reid T. Porter, a spokesperson for API, told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “In this instance, EPA did not adhere to the statutory requirements when it expanded the rule to include methane.”

In a more sane and less politically toxic world this suit would be a no brainer. The entire premise of the EPA’s authority to regulate lawful commerce in the free market is predicated on the assumption that their actions would force corporations to adhere to rules which would limit or prevent harm to the environment. As we’ve discussed here before and the Daily Caller report reminds us, methane emissions from energy development in the United States have been plunging for some time now, and it’s not due to increased solar or wind energy production. It’s because of fracking. The EPA’s own studies have concluded the same thing.

Methane emissions into the atmosphere have been studied closely and the majority of increases have come in the form of biogenic methane. As a quick refresher course for those who may have missed it, thermogenic methane is released from industrial, energy extraction activity. Biogenic methane occurs naturally, primarly from agricultural activity and the melting of typically frozen ground. Thermogenic methane emissions (from energy exploration) stopped going up in the 90s and have since been going down while biogenic methane has been on the rise.

Fracking technology accounts for the difference. In fact, these benefits carry over to carbon dioxide emissions as well. The cuts in CO2 emissions we’ve achieved have been thanks to fracking at a rate twenty times greater than any benefit seen from renewable energy sources. (Emphasis added)

Absolute methane emissions from natural gas fell by 15 percent between 1990 and 2014, and emissions per unit of natural gas produced dropped by 43 percent over the same period.

The biggest cause of declining carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions is America’s fracking boom, not solar or wind power, according to a study published last November by the Manhattan Institute.

The study shows that solar power is responsible for a mere 1 percent of the decline in American CO2 emissions, while natural gas is responsible for nearly 20 percent.

This is the wake-up call which the courts need to drive home with the EPA. For every ton of carbon dioxide cut by solar power, fracking has cut 13 tons. Given the EPA’s stated mission and the science which they themselves admit is valid, there is no basis for the agency to expand the bounds of the Clean Air Act to include methane and their persecution of the fracking industry over CO2 emissions is similarly misguided. There is no lawful rationale for the EPA to impose hugely expensive regulations on the oil and gas industry for a problem which has already been addressed. These regulations need to be scrapped and the EPA needs an expensive lesson in sticking to their own primary function rather than fulfilling the political agenda of the Obama administration and their green energy political donor class.

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David Strom 6:01 AM on June 06, 2023