White House Watch

Biden Admin Preparing To Finalize Barrage Of Methane Regulations

The Biden administration is gearing up to finalize a host of emissions rules and regulations in the coming months, E&E News reported Wednesday.

The rules and regulations are all focused on methane, a greenhouse gas that is more potent, but dissipates more quickly, than carbon dioxide, and align with the administration’s commitment to attacking climate change with a “whole-of-government” response. The Biden administration is aiming to finalize the slew of methane regulations in the coming months ahead of the 2024 election, which would make the rules more difficult for a potential Republican administration to scrap should President Joe Biden lose, according to E&E News.

The White House is reviewing an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) final rule that would cut methane emissions from oil and gas production, refining, transport and storage, according to E&E News. The rule could be finalized on Dec. 2, when the U.S. hosts a methane summit with China and the United Arab Emirates at the upcoming United Nations climate conference.

The Biden administration and China committed to working together to control methane emissions last week, though the Chinese climate envoy has balked at calls to ditch fossil fuels and the country permitted an average of two new coal plants each week in 2022, according to the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air.

The EPA is also looking to finalize regulations for power plant and vehicle emissions in the coming months, according to E&E News. A separate EPA methane tax regulation from the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), Biden’s signature climate bill, is currently under White House review and due to become finalized early in 2024. The rule will be based on updated and more aggressive reporting standards.

Meanwhile, the administration is working with the European Union and other countries to craft new international standards to give low-methane natural gas privileged access to the European market, according to E&E News. While work on these standards is underway, it is unclear when they will become final.

The Department of Transportation (DOT) is working on a rule for pipelines for methane leak detection and repairs, according to E&E News. The agency had signaled that it would unveil the final rule in July, but it has not come out yet. The American Gas Association slammed the proposal as an example of “overreach” that sets “highly unrealistic” compliance timelines when the agency unveiled it in August.

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is also crafting a methane rule focused on leaks from oil and gas production on federal lands, according to E&E News. The final rule was supposed to be unveiled in September, but the White House has not yet reviewed it.

The Treasury Department is also working on tax credit eligibility guidelines for “green hydrogen” projects, according to E&E News. The guidelines for the sizable tax credits, made available for the IRA, will set the threshold for acceptable levels of upstream methane leaks from gas used to produce the hydrogen.

The White House, the EPA, the DOT, the Treasury Department and the BLM did not respond immediately to requests for comment.

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Nick Pope

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