U.S. government new strategy to control methane emissions as part of its efforts to regulate global warming, is a thinly-veiled disguised to attack the fracking industry, which will have large repercussions the country’s energy security, reports WND.com
The White House, through a study called “Climate Action Plan: Strategy to Reduce Methane Emissions”, seeks to lower methane gas emissions from agriculture, landfills, coal mines and oil and gas installations.
The news was greeted with an uproar from cattle ranchers and dairy farmers, who said that the “voluntary strategies” to cut down methane emissions by 25 percent in 6 years in their feed lots and dairy farms will strain their finances and drive smaller players out of the market. This will trigger a rise in higher dairy and meat prices.
According to the U.S. Food and Agriculture Organization, cattle can emit the same amount of methane as a car in a day. However, ranchers were up in arms, wondering whether controlling cattle flatulence is a sensible way of spending taxpayers’ money.
However, all eyes are focused on the oil and gas sector. The EPA will research the best way to reduce methane emissions from oil and gas industry, with regulations expected to come into force before the end of 2016. The move is critical as it is a setback to America’s ambition to reduce its reliance on oil and gas imports.
Much of the increase in U.S. oil and gas production has been due to fracking. According to a Bloomberg report, U.S. pumped 8.75 million barrels per day, its highest output since 1988. Total output rose 18 percent in 12 months, mostly due to use of hydraulic fracturing in Texas and North Dakota. This saw U.S. rely on local sources for 86 percent of its energy requirements.
However, industry pundits are at loss over the necessity of the new regulations since the industry operators have found, or are still researching on new ways to tap methane gas during the drilling process. This gas is then sold at a profit.
According to the Director of regulatory and scientific affairs at the American Petroleum Institute, Howard Feldman, the oil and gas sector has done a remarkable job of slashing emissions hence there is no need for additional legislation.
“The industry has led efforts to reduce emissions of methane by developing new technologies and equipment, and recent studies show emissions are far lower than EPA projected just a few years ago,” he said in a statement. “Methane is natural gas that operators can bring to the market. There is a built-in incentive to capture these emissions.”
Hydraulic fracturing is a controversial method of oil and gas extraction that involves pumping in water, fine sand and chemicals into the ground to fracture oil and gas-bearing rocks to release the deposits.
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