API Stands Ready to Work with Biden Administration on Methane Regulation
Posted January 21, 2021
Any discussion of addressing the risks of climate change should include a focus on reducing methane emissions from natural gas and oil production. While affordable, reliable energy provided by natural gas and oil is essential to our modern economy and Americans’ everyday lives, lowering methane emissions from that production also is essential.
Our industry has and will continue to broadly support methane emissions reduction – through technology, innovation and industry-led initiatives such as The Environmental Partnership, which is laser-focused on bringing down emissions, including a brand-new program to reduce flaring.
Cost-effective public policy also plays a critical role, which is why API is announcing its support for the direct regulation of methane from new and existing sources, as well as its desire to work with the new Biden administration to develop durable regulation that follows the law.
As a trade association representing 600 individual companies, our critical policy positions necessarily reflect consensus, developed carefully with much thought and discussion. While API formerly held that existing federal regulation of volatile organic compounds, with the dual benefit of reducing methane emissions, was sufficient, we believe that direct regulation of methane from new and existing sources is key to public confidence in our industry’s performance as we engage with the new administration.
API has signaled this to President Biden’s team. Specifically, as providers of America’s leading energy sources, we should be included in discussions to shape a regulatory regime that’s sensible, workable and promotes further technological advances and innovation – again, so our industry can continue lowering emissions while supplying the energy our nation needs.
We arrive at this point having already made significant progress. EPA’s latest Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program report and data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration show that emissions per unit of production from key basins fell nearly 70% between 2011 and 2018. This means that during a period of record production, we increased efficiency in reducing emissions, thanks to new technologies and innovations.
API continues to drive progress through The Environmental Partnership, whose participants represent 74% of new U.S. onshore natural gas and oil production, to identify and share practical ways companies can capture more and more methane. It’s the main component in natural gas, which is our business. The Partnership’s field-tested programs include improving equipment at industry facilities, rapid leak detection and repair, the new flare management program mentioned above and more.
These show industry’s intent and its actions. We are an industry of innovators and solution-finders. We will work with the new administration and Congress where we can toward common-sense approaches that achieve what all Americans want: environmental protection and safe, secure, affordable and reliable energy.
API support of direct regulation of methane emissions at new and existing sources further demonstrates our industry’s commitment to work with others to build America’s present and its future.
About The Author
Mike Sommers is the 15th chief executive of API since its founding more than a century ago. Prior to coming to API, Mike led the American Investment Council, a trade association representing many of the nation’s leading private equity and growth capital firms and other business partners. He spent two decades in critical staff leadership positions in the U.S. House of Representatives and the White House, including chief of staff for then-House Speaker John Boehner. Mike is a native of Naperville, Illinois, and a graduate of the honors program at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. Mike and Jill Sommers, a former commissioner at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, have three children and live in Alexandria, Virginia.