Energy and Commerce Leaders Seek Information on EPA's Plans to Expand Regulation of Oil and Natural Gas Production

March 28, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC- Republican leaders of the House Energy and Commerce Committee today wrote to Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson seeking more information about EPA's forthcoming regulations establishing new emission standards for the oil and natural gas sector. Particularly in light of rising gasoline and electricity prices, members are troubled by EPA rules that will make it more expensive to produce American energy.
 
EPA is expected to issue a new final rule in the coming weeks that will expand existing regulations that address air emissions from activities related to oil and natural gas production, including the first federal air standards for hydraulically fractured wells. Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI), Chairman Emeritus Joe Barton (R-TX), and Energy and Power Subcommittee Chairman Ed Whitfield (R-KY), requested EPA provide the committee details about its plans to expand regulation of American energy producers before promulgating the final rule.
 
Members are concerned that EPA's new standards will undermine the production of affordable and reliable energy. At a time when both gasoline and electricity prices are on the rise, the committee's leaders have argued that the president should be doing all he can to bring down prices and expand access to domestic energy supplies, but this rule could do precisely the opposite. A recent report estimated the new standards as proposed could reduce unconventional natural gas production by as much as 11 percent and unconventional oil production by as much as 37 percent by 2015. 

"We are concerned about the rule's potential to adversely impact both the near and long-term production of oil and natural gas, including unconventional resources, at a time when domestic production is increasingly important to our national economy, jobs and consumers," the members wrote.

This rule is just one element of EPA's regulatory agenda that increases the cost of domestic energy development and production. Today, EPA released its proposed greenhouse gas standards for power plants, which would impose a de facto ban on new coal-fired units. EPA is driving utility investment to natural gas with one rule, while reducing natural gas production with the other. While the president continues to tout his so-called "all of the above" energy plan, his administration continues to advance new regulations which discourage development and production of the affordable kinds of energy.

For a copy of the letter, click here.