Republicans blast Obama’s methane plan

Leading congressional Republicans blasted President Obama’s plan to slash methane emissions from oil and gas as an expensive regulatory structure that would have little environmental benefit.

Lawmakers responsible for environmental regulation promised that they will be tough in their oversight of the coming rules from the Environmental Protection Agency and other agencies, but did not say they would try to block or overturn them.

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“This EPA mandate from the Obama administration will not only increase the cost to do business in America, but it will ultimately limit our nation’s ability to become fully energy independent,” Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, said in a statement.

“This will impact everyday Americans, from the cost to heat their homes to the reliability of consistent electricity to keep the family business competitively operating.”

Inhofe questioned the benefit of the rules, saying that methane emissions from oil and gas have fallen in recent years.

Rep. Fred UptonFrederick (Fred) Stephen UptonRepublicans pour cold water on Trump's term limit idea The Hill's Morning Report - Can Trump save GOP in North Carolina special election? Wave of GOP retirements threatens 2020 comeback MORE (R-Mich.), chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, said the rules are unnecessary.

“Studies show that while our energy production has significantly increased, methane emissions have continued to decline. This is something that should be celebrated, not bound by new red tape,” Upton said in a statement along with Rep. Ed WhitfieldWayne (Ed) Edward WhitfieldBottom Line Why Republicans took aim at an ethics watchdog What Azerbaijan wants from Israel? MORE (R-Ky.), chairman of the committee’s Energy and Power subpanel.

“Our goal should be to modernize our energy infrastructure for the 21st century and continue to welcome successes in reducing emissions and delivering new sources of affordable energy to consumers who need it,” they said.

“These should be the priorities that we focus on, not creating new layers of bureaucracy that could smother such promising innovation.”

Democrats welcomed Wednesday’s announcement from the administration.

“I look forward to further reviewing the details of the president’s proposal, but I’m glad to see he is taking action to reduce wasted natural gas and improve the safety of our booming oil and gas industry,” Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) said in a statement.

“Done right, reducing methane leaks will be a winner for taxpayers and the environment,” he said.

Earlier this week, Wyden introduced a bill to reduce methane leaks from wells leased on federal land.

“Today's proposal builds on efforts to utilize existing technologies and management practices to limit waste and emissions,” said Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.). “Moving forward, it is critical that we maximize opportunities for methane emission reduction in the oil and gas sector to meet our goals to protect Americans from the dangerous impacts of climate change.”