Our hyperlitigious friends at WildEarth Guardians, which were the focus of our MonkeyWrenching the Courts report, are poised to toss a cold wet blanket on America’s red hot domestic energy revival, thanks to new, court-ordered gas and oil drilling regs the EPA is required to issue by April 17. How much the new emission control and capture rules will drive-up consumer energy prices or dampen enthusiasm for domestic drilling in unknown, but no changes this major come without costs or consequences. We already know that those waging this irrational, ideological war on coal don’t care what it costs average people. They intend to impose their will on the unwilling, no matter the costs or consequences.
Regulation really represents a form of roundabout, stealth taxation, that hits consumers much harder than it does ”industry,” unless it so greatly reduces corporate profit margins that it drives businesses to ruin. No one considers EPA’s economic impact assessments credible; indeed, most know they’re laughably half-hearted and amateurish. We’re thus only left to guess at the market impacts.
The green groups that forced this on the EPA via lawsuit portray this not as an additional burden or cost, which will get passed to consumers. No, they maintain that they’re actually doing gas and oil producers a favor by forcing them to capture valuable methane emissions, which otherwise might just float off into the sky.
“The new EPA rules are expected to require companies to capture gases released into the air during the fracturing process. One of those is methane, a greenhouse gas.
Methane emissions from energy development account for roughly 37 percent of the methane emissions in the United States, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council. While some states already have standards in place for capturing these emissions, many do not.
In a relatively short time, the money made by capturing and selling these emissions can repay developers for the equipment used to capture the emissions, said David Doniger, a climate and clean air advocate for the Natural Resources Defense Council.
Technology to capture the gas is “readily available and highly profitable,” Doniger said.”
Nice of the gang at NRDC to be thinking about industry profitability, since that’s something they normally decry as “obscene,” but if the technology and retrofits required to meet the new mandates really are as ”readily available and highly profitable” as the self-styled drilling experts at NRDC say, one can bet companies would be doing this without a prompt from the EPA. If there were efficiency improvements or dollars to be gained by capturing these gases, you wouldn’t need a new wave of federal mandates to impose them on industry.
The NRDC & Co. have absolutely no altruistic motives here, despite the spin. The mission is to burden the industry with so much additional regulation that they drive it down or drive it offshore. Nor do they give a hoot about what this costs energy consumers or what sort of drag it places on the economy. Like the President and his Energy Secretary, these groups see rising energy costs as something to aspire to, since higher fossil fuel costs help make expensive renewables more cost-competitive and will force Americans to embrace the sort of environmentally-correct lifestyles that Gang Green thinks we ought to live.