Texas sues EPA over new regulations for cutting methane emissions

WASHINGTON D.C. -- The state of Texas is joining several other oil and gas producing states to sue the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over new rules aimed at cutting methane emissions.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton called the agency's rules “a gross demonstration of federal overreach” and accused the EPA of failing to consider the price tag for oil and gas producers to comply.
The federal regulations would slash emissions of methane leaking from well pads, compressor stations, processing plants and other equipment used in oil and gas production.

The regulations would also phase in “green” completion requirements that operators capture methane that's typically flared at existing wells.

Texas oil and gas producers are complaining that the stringent regulations hurt them when they’re already reeling from low oil and gas prices.

Part of President Obama’s plan to cut methane emissions by 40% to 45% of 2012 levels by 2025, the new regulations have been praised by environmental groups, calling them necessary to combat climate change. The EPA says its new rules would yield $690 million in climate benefits by 2025, outweighing the estimated cost to industry of $530 million.

Oil and gas industry representatives have pointed to EPA data showing total greenhouse gas emissions in the country have dropped amid a drilling surge to suggest that fracking yields climate benefits as cleaner-burning natural gas replaces coal in power plants.