Chairs Rodgers & Johnson to EPA: “Your Policies Will Drive up Energy Costs for Americans and Reduce Energy Production”

Washington, D.C. — On behalf of members on the Environment, Manufacturing, and Critical Materials Subcommittee, House Energy and Commerce Chair Committee Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and Environment, Manufacturing, and Critical Materials Subcommittee Chair Bill Johnson (R-OH), sent a letter today to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael Regan requesting information regarding how their rush-to-green methane regulations will discourage American energy production. These regulations extend beyond the agency’s congressionally mandated authority and will increase energy costs for Americans. 

Excerpts and highlights from the letter: 

“We write regarding the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposals for new methane regulations under Section 111 of the Clean Air Act (CAA) and the agency’s implementation of the Methane Emissions Reduction Program under Section 60113 of the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 (IRA). The EPA’s regulatory proposal for methane creates substantial legal and regulatory uncertainty, which discourages energy production and increases energy prices. The EPA is also planning to add to the regulatory burden with a new tax on methane emissions. As the Congressional Budget Office determined, a tax on methane emissions will increase operational costs, reduce energy production, and increase the price of natural gas. 

“On November 2, 2021, EPA proposed three separate actions to regulate methane emissions from new and existing oil and gas well sites, compressor stations, processing plants, and transmission and storage facilities. This proposal would dramatically expand EPA’s regulatory reach, and it would undercut rules issued under the prior administration that removed regulatory duplication and would have saved millions of dollars each year. The EPA’s proposal violates statutory requirements under CAA Section 111 that require, as a predicate to establishing regulations for new sources, a finding that methane emissions from a source significantly contributes to air pollution that endangers public health or welfare. The EPA’s proposal also imposes improper requirements on States to issue additional methane regulations for existing sources under CAA Section 111(d).          

“Energy facilities subject to EPA’s aggressive regulatory proposals must also plan for compliance with EPA’s new Methane Emissions Reduction Program, under which EPA will impose and collect a tax on the reported metric tons of methane emissions that exceed certain thresholds, based on the type of facility, and the amount of natural gas sent to sale. There are several aspects of the methane tax that are undefined in statute, and since there was no hearing, committee report, or debate in Congress, there are significant questions about how the methane taxes and regulations will interact with each other.   

“While the CAA contains exemptions for regulatory compliance, and when there is a lack of pipeline infrastructure available, it is unclear how EPA will calculate the tax and which operators will be forced to comply. There are also questions about how emissions are reported, whether EPA is coordinating with States, and when EPA will enforce compliance with new taxes and regulations.”      

CLICK HERE to read the full letter and questions that Rodgers and Johnson asked the EPA to respond to by June 23, 2023.