The Trump administration’s Bureau of Land Management is moving to rescind and replace an Obama administration regulation that would drastically limit methane gas emissions by companies drilling for hydrocarbons on Federal land.
While the move is salutary—the Obama regulation would have imposed too much cost, would have stunted energy innovation, and would have limited energy supply with resulting higher prices to us consumers—there’s one tidbit in the Wall Street Journal article carrying that news that needs emphasis.
Environmentalists rejected that claim [of impeding energy development] and decried the decision, pointing out that several companies had already moved on their own to start cutting methane emissions.
Because some in private industry think a move is a good idea, Government, says the Left, must get involved and require everyone to do the same thing.
Many oil-and-gas companies—including some of the world’s biggest—have been anticipating further rules to slow climate change and have decided to invest in better methane-capturing technology. They can recoup some of the investment and potentially add to profits by capturing more stray gas and selling it with the rest of their output.
Of course, they still will be able to with the new regulation in place. Methane gas produced as a side effect of oil drilling or fracking still will be a marketable product, still will be competitive with coal, still will produce profit for the drillers and frackers. This is innovation in a free market, something the Left and their environmentalists.