Senators demand answers from EPA about creation of Obama era methane emissions rules


While environmentalists have led legal challenges to many moves by the Trump administration’s EPA, some U.S. Senators, led by Sen. Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, are using the same tactic in challenging Obama-era rules and regulations of methane emissions from oil and gas operations. In short, they’re turning the table on the Obama rules and regulations.

Were they properly vetted? Did the agency create fair and balanced rules? Was there a rush to judgment?

They want to know more about the procedure that the EPA used in the Obama administration in creating rules that the Senators believe to be especially harmful to small oil and gas producers. Their letter to Comptroller General Gene L. Dodaro asks for a comprehensive review and report of issues associated with methane emissions.


They also contend small producers face higher regulatory burdens and their letter highlights what they believe to be a disproportionate impact the regulations have on the small producers compared with large ones.

Sens. James Lankford of Oklahoma, John Barrasso of Wyoming and Kevin Cramer of North Dakota joined Inhofe in making the pointed request of Dodaro.

In their letter, the senators claimed two methane emissions standards implemented and promulgated by the Obama administration “were developed under rushed schedules. They pointed out that since 2017, the two New Source Performance Standards have been under reconsideration by the Trump administration.

“At issue is whether the expansion of the source category scope was properly justified,” claimed the Senators. “To better understand the nature of these regulatory actions, it is essential to obtain a full assessment of the quality of the rulemaking process, including whether the EPA actively developed the information necessary to create its regulations.

They pointed out to Dodaro that oil and natural gas contribute less than one-third of the 9% of the greenhouse gas emissions  inventory in the U.S., while oil and natural gas production accounts for 1.2% of the total inventory.


The full text of the letter to Comptroller General Gene L. Dodaro can be found below and here.

Source: Sen. James Inhofe release