Clean Power Plan ignores gas’s potential role, industry groups say

The Obama administration’s final rule to curb US power plants’ greenhouse gas emissions did not acknowledge natural gas’s potential contributions, officials from two national oil and gas associations initially said in separate statements following the regulation’s Aug. 3 release.

“America is leading the world in reducing emissions thanks to a revolution in the production and use of gas,” said Howard J. Feldman, senior director of regulatory and scientific affairs at the American Petroleum Institute. “We can continue that progress without costly new regulations that could hurt consumers and stifle economic growth.”

America’s Natural Gas Alliance Pres. Martin J. Durbin said while ANGA intends to examine the administration’s plan more closely, initial indications are that the White House discounted gas’s ability to reduce GHG emissions quickly and reliably while contributing to growth and helping consumers.

“With the reported shift in the plan, we believe the White House is perpetuating the false choice between renewables and gas,” Durbin said. “We don’t have to slow the trend toward gas in order to effectively and economically use renewables.”

Feldman said, “Over the last few years, consumer-driven investments in gas have lowered energy bills for hard-pressed families while helping cut emissions to near 20-year lows. By picking winners and losers in the energy mix, [the US Environmental Protection Agency’s] rules could force consumers to pay far more money for far fewer environmental benefits.”

He said the US oil and gas industry invests more in zero-emissions and low-emissions technologies than the federal government and nearly as much as all other industries combined. “With or without new regulations, gas will continue to grow as a critical source of clean energy, but EPA’s rule does more harm than good,” Feldman said.

The American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers is reviewing the final rule, and has not determined what, if any, future actions it will take, AFPM Pres. Chet Thompson said.

“We are concerned, however, that the rule exceeds EPA’s statutory authority, commandeers states primacy in making energy decisions, provides inadequate time for compliance, and fails to consider the current energy infrastructure, which ultimately will lead to higher electricity costs for consumers,” Thompson said.

“The rule’s so-called ‘beyond the source’ approach creates a worrisome precedent for the future of regulation under the Clean Air Act,” Thompson said.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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