|Exxon, Shell and BP, today publicly criticized the Trump administration's effort to loosen federal rules on methane emissions, a powerful greenhouse gas linked to climate change. to keep the current standards in place. |
Chevron, last February, tied executive compensation and rank-and-file bonuses to reductions in methane emissions and flared natural gas.
Collectively, these major firms account for 18 percent of America’s natural gas output.
The EPA estimates that the proposed changes would save smaller financially-precarious competitors in the oil and natural gas industry $17 million to $19 million a year.
In a statement Thursday, Shell U.S. President Gretchen Watkins reiterated the company’s support for national limits on methane, noting that Shell has pledged to reduce its methane leaks from its global operations to less than 0.2 percent by 2025.
“We believe sound environmental policies are foundational to the vital role natural gas can play in the energy transition and have made clear our support of 2016 law to regulate methane from new and modified onshore sources,” she said. “Despite the administration’s proposal to no longer regulate methane, Shell’s U.S. assets will continue to contribute to that global target.”
Ben Ratner, a senior director at the advocacy group Environmental Defense Fund, said in an interview that rolling back the regulations could reward bad actors in the industry. Given that many major players had embraced limits on methane, Ratner said, it made little sense for Trump officials to ease such restrictions.
“It’s more of an ideological reaction to regulation of any climate pollutant by the federal government,” he said.