The Biden administration approved new regulations Saturday aimed at reducing methane gas emissions, but some elected officials and trade groups are concerned they disproportionately target small businesses.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will require oil producers to upgrade their equipment and to search for leaks at their existing worksites in order to curb methane emissions, which the EPA identifies as one of the primary drivers of climate change, Politico reported. Critics worry, however, that the regulations could be a boon to Big Oil as large firms can absorb the costs associated with compliance more easily than smaller producers.
“The big multinationals have the luxury of having deep pockets,” Republican North Dakota Sen. Kevin Cramer told Politico. He said that some smaller oil producers lack the same resources as big oil corporations and viewed the regulations as expensive and similar to already existing state-level rules.
The Western Energy Alliance, a trade association that represents the interests of independent natural gas and oil producers in the Western United States, offered similar concerns.
The group, in a press release, slammed what it called the “EPA’s deliberate efforts to close hundreds of thousands of low-producing wells, thereby threatening 10 percent of America’s oil production.”
“These wells are operated mainly by small businesses that cannot absorb the relatively huge regulatory costs of this rule and will be put out of business”
The Western Energy Alliance also argued the regulations will lead to fewer jobs in the energy sector.
While the WEA opposes the regulations on behalf of small and midsize companies, major oil companies have voluntarily pledged to reduce their methane emissions.
Oil companies owned by Saudi Arabia, as well as some domestic fossil fuel giants like ExxonMobil, signed on to initiatives at the United Nations Climate Change Conference on Saturday pledging to reduce the amount of methane emitted from their production facilities, according to The Washington Post.
Biden admin officials have defended efforts to reduce methane emissions as necessary.
“Methane is one of the greatest dangers within the context of the climate crisis that one could imagine,” U.S. special climate envoy John Kerry said on Friday, according to Politico.
“There’s no way to keep the Earth’s temperature at 1.5 degrees if we’re not focused—super focused—on methane.”
The EPA did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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