XTO has helpfully moved the conversation on oil and gas air pollution forward by acknowledging the importance of methane regulations, including on existing oil and gas equipment. XTO calls for “jurisdictionally appropriate” regulations that “stay pragmatic and seek the possible.” That is an accurate description of the actual regulations that Trump Administration is working to throw away right now. EPA and BLM have instituted rules based on measures that have been in place for years in Colorado and Wyoming that have been proven to reduce emissions at very low costs, even trivial for this industry. The BLM rules cover wells that produce oil and gas from minerals owned by the American people, while EPA put in place standards for new wells and equipment and older sites in areas with poor air quality, where emissions reductions are most critical.
Unfortunately, the Trump Administration is working hard not to improve or tweak these rules, but to simply discard them in the name of convenience for a few operators. The Trump Administration should take notice of a commendable private industry initiative and shelve their cynical plans to stay the current safeguards.