ND’s congressional delegation responds to Biden admin’s new methane rules

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During the United Nations Climate Change Conference, President Joe Biden announced new EPA rules to reduce methane emissions from U.S. drilling operations by approximately 75 percent by 2030, compared with 2005.

The new proposed EPA rules for reducing methane emissions will require leak detection repair, which is also known as LDAR. The rules also include ratcheting down flaring which impacts North Dakota which historically has had high percentages of gas flaring per volume.

It’s an expansion of the 2016 Obama-era rule that only targeted new wells. Now, the new rule will address all older wells too. Companies like Exxon Mobile and BP were in favor of the 2016 rules and they are already using the technology.

Despite the industry’s openness to the idea, North Dakota’s Congressional Delegation is characterizing the new rule as duplicative of the good work North Dakota is already doing.

“It’s not surprising that places like large multi-national companies support the rule because it’s always easier for them to comply with onerous rules. They have more lawyers. They have more technology that they can apply. But the reality is that North Dakota has always handled and always enforced good regulations as it relates to methane, said U.S. Senator Kevin Cramer.

U.S. Representative posted a public tweet condeming Biden’s new EPA methane rules

“Federal regulatory regime gives you very specific way in which to do this, so if you develop a new and better way to do it, like legitimately a better way to do this, you’re not allowed to do it under the federal rules until you change those rules which is a long and unwieldy process,” explained U.S. Representative for North Dakota’s at-large congressional district, Kelly Armstrong.

U.S. Senator John Hoeven issued a statement calling the new EPA methane reduction rule “duplicative” and “costly” for North Dakota’s oil and gas sector.

The Dakota Resource Council (DRC) tells KX News the biggest concern for small producers is cost.
In order to detect methane leaks from oil and gas infrastructure, producers need to use specialized Flir infrared cameras which can range in the tens of thousands of dollars and also require a certified operator.

However, DRC says other states like Colorado are already using the technology, and ultimately the new rules will push North Dakota oil and gas producers to stay viable in the 21st Century.

“We look at this as a way that oil and gas can then clean up some of the externalities they’re putting off as far as pollution, things like that. Then the industry can innovate in order to reduce those emissions and be a cleaner industry in North Dakota and worldwide,” explained DRC Executive Director Scott Skokos.

Other regulations will include air quality reporting that the state will implement through the Clean Air Act.

The full EPA methane reduction regulations have not come out yet.

Methane accounts for one-third of greenhouse gas emissions, globally.

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