By: Payton May – KOKH – On Tuesday the Biden Administration announced plans to introduce stronger regulations on oil and gas wells.
The regulations, proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), aim to reduce methane emissions.
Some of the largest natural gas and oil fields in the country are in Oklahoma.
In 2020, Oklahoma was the fourth largest producer of crude oil and natural gas in the U.S.
Potential restrictions on the industry has Brook Simmons, the President of the Petroleum Alliance of Oklahoma, concerned.
“We expect them to be the most stringent emissions requirements on the planet,” Simmons said. “These type of rules are just a further burden on Oklahoma oil and gas producers and everyone across the entire sector.”
Simmons fears for the effects the proposed regulations could have on the Oklahoma economy.
“We are the largest private sector contributor to Oklahoma’s economy,” Simmons said. “We’re responsible for 1/3 of state GDP, 1 out of every 4 jobs, $1 out of every $3 in earned income, $1 out of every $4 on public spending of roads, bridges, schools and other state priorities. So anytime you have Oklahoma being disadvantaged versus its peer states, it’s going to be a problem.”
Not only could the regulations impact producers, but also consumers.
“They’re going to face really high prices at the pump, and home heating and electricity,” Simmons said.
According to the EPA, natural gas and petroleum systems are the second largest source of methane emissions in the U.S.
Over the last thirty years though, the country’s emissions have decreased by 15-percent.
“Basically what we’re seeing is we’re surrendering our energy policy to China and Russia,” Simmons said. “That’s not great. It’s not great for anyone in Oklahoma.”
Over the next ten years, the EPA hopes to reduce the 2005 methane gas emission levels by nearly 75-percent.
The agency plans to issue the proposal in 2022.