Western Slope oil and gas industry balks at EPA greenhouse gas report

Oil and gas officials on Colorado’s Western Slope this week were predictably critical of a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency proposal to expand its controversial greenhouse-gas reporting regulations to include oil and gas production.

According to the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, Williams, the largest natural gas producer on the Western Slope, questioned the need for such reporting and said the associated costs would be substantial.

“Will this have any impact on climate change? I say no. Is the regulation necessary? I don’t think so as an industry person,” Williams air quality practice manager Rick Matar told the paper.

The Sentinel reported EPA estimates that the “industry’s greenhouse-gas emissions are the second-largest source of human-made methane emissions in the United States,” and that “pound for pound, methane is more than 20 times as effective as carbon dioxide in trapping heat in the atmosphere.”

But Matar countered with statistics showing humans account for just 3.4 percent of all greenhouse gas in the atmosphere, and that the EPA believes the oil and gas industry accounts for only 5 percent of that.

Jeremy Nichols, climate and energy program director for the WildEarth Guardians, said the EPA merely wants to find out for sure: “I would think industry would want to embrace this.”

In other Western Slope energy news, the Pitkin County commissioners Wednesday delayed action on stiff new drilling regulations that would exceed those enforced by the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC).

Industry representatives wanted an opportunity to provide input before the county tightens its regulations, according to the Aspen Daily News.

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