House Defunds Obama Era Methane Rules

Oil Derrick

“West Texas Pumpjack” by Eric Kounce TexasRaiser – Located south of Midland, Texas.

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

h/t Willie Soon – the House has voted to defund an Obama era EPA initiative to limit methane emissions from fossil fuel mining operations.

House votes to block funding for EPA methane pollution rule

BY DEVIN HENRY – 09/13/17 01:55 PM EDT

Lawmakers voted Wednesday to block implementation of a key Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) pollution rule.

The House voted 218-195 to strip funding for an Obama-era EPA effort to limit methane emissions from new oil and gas drilling sites. Eleven Republicans voted against the amendment, and 3 Democrats voted to block funding for the regulation.

“This rule is currently facing litigation and uncertainty, and Congress must act to block this job-killing regulation estimated to cost the U.S. economy $530 million annually,” Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.) said during debate on the measure last week.

Environmentalists and Democrats have defended the rule as an important effort to crack down on climate change-causing pollutants.

“There is no doubt at all that methane contributes to the increased levels of greenhouse gas concentrations, which contribute to the long-lasting changes in our climate, such as rising global temperatures, sea level change, in weather and precipitation patterns and changes in the ecosystem’s habits and species diversity,” Rep. Betty McCollum (D-Minn.) said during floor debate.

Read more: http://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/350489-house-votes-to-block-funding-for-epa-methane-pollution-rule

The fracking revolution, the rise of US unconventional gas and oil, is substantially responsible for recent economic growth. Obama’s methane rules were a threat to prosperity. This defunding motion is a vote to be celebrated, a win for US jobs and living standards.

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69 thoughts on “House Defunds Obama Era Methane Rules

      • As foreigner I would just guess it is easier to let some bureaucratic rule die from lack of money than to actually repeal it and force the agency to do its real job. Same here and from what I’ve seen anywhere.

  1. “Obama’s methane rules were a threat to prosperity. This defunding motion is a vote to be celebrated, a win for US jobs and living standards.”

    What is the evidence that this rule would threaten prosperity, jobs and living standards?

    • The goal of the methane rule was to make it more difficult to do business in this field. The extra costs might put some companies out of business and make the rest less profitable.

      It clearly behooves people in oil and gas not to leak the product that they intend to sell. That’s the face palm part of the methane rule. It pretends to force regulation of something oil and gas companies do anyhow. To pretend that the government is doing anything but burdening the industry with higher costs is ingenuous. Redundancy is a waste of time and resources.

      Living standards always decrease when you make something as basic as energy more expensive. Remember, the costs of the methane rule would have to be passed on to the consumers. We always pay in the end and thus have less to spend on other parts of our lives.

      Lastly, CO2 and methane have half lives of about 5 years in the atmosphere. They are relatively short-lived. The warmists try to pretend that they last 200-1000 years in the atmosphere, which is an example of their propaganda.

      And, then there is the fact that COo2, methane and water vapor are not “greenhouse gases”, which actually of not exist. These are correctly called “radiative gases,” which, during the day, are saturated with IR radiation, converting IR to heat and heat to IR, and having no net effect. It is during night-time that these gases unilaterally cool the atmosphere, which is why the air chills down so quickly after sunset. These gases serve to make the planet cooler not warmer, which is the opposite of what the global warming agenda wants us to think.

      So, the big question that we should be asking all of the politicians and regulation builders is, what real science indicates that we should turn our societies and economies upside-down to decrease our emissions of gases that do nothing unusual or harmful to us or the environment?

      CO2 is in fact plant food and greening the planet. In truth, their need to fight these emissions is totally political, part of an agenda, and a quest for power and money. Redistribution of wealth is always an underlying theme is these various political ploys; but often, as would be with a carbon tax or carbon market, it is a redistribution of wealth from the people to the government or rich people in the carbon market (e.g., Gore).

      • Dr Tim Ball agrees “The many different molecules absorb in different wavelength regions, known as bands. The principal components of air, nitrogen and oxygen, absorb mainly ultraviolet light. Nothing absorbs in the visible wavelength range, but there are several gases that have absorption bands in the infrared region. These are collectively known as the GreenHouse Gases (GHG), because absorbing infrared energy warms up the air – given the name greenhouse effect.

        The adjacent figure shows how six different gases absorb radiation across the infrared range of wavelengths, from 1 to 16 microns (mm). The vertical scale is upside-down: 100% absorption is low, and 0% absorption (i.e., transparency) is high.

        It’s important to realize that these are shown on a “per molecule” basis. Because water vapor (bottom bar of the figure) is much more plentiful in the atmosphere than any of the others, H¬2O absorbs vastly more energy and is by far the most important greenhouse gas. On any given day, H2O is a percent or two of the atmosphere; we call that humidity.

        The second most important greenhouse gas is carbon dioxide (CO2), which (on a per-molecule basis) is six times as effective an absorber as H2O. However, CO2 is only about 0.04% of the atmosphere (400 parts per million), so it’s much less important than water vapor.

        Now it’s necessary to scrutinize the figure very carefully. Looking across the wavelength scale at the bottom, H2O absorbs strongly in the 3-micron region, and again between 5 and 7 microns; then it absorbs to some degree beyond about 12 microns. CO2 has absorption bands centered around 2.5 microns, 4.3 microns, and has a broad band out beyond 13 microns. Consequently, CO2 adds a small contribution to the greenhouse effect. Notice that sometimes CO2 bands overlap with H2O bands, and with vastly more H2O present, CO2 doesn’t matter in those bands.

        Looking at the second graph in the figure, methane (CH4) has narrow absorption bands at 3.3 microns and 7.5 microns (the red lines). CH4 is 20 times more effective an absorber than CO2 – in those bands. However, CH4 is only 0.00017% (1.7 parts per million) of the atmosphere. Moreover, both of its bands occur at wavelengths where H2O is already absorbing substantially. Hence, any radiation that CH4 might absorb has already been absorbed by H2O. The ratio of the percentages of water to methane is such that the effects of CH4 are completely masked by H2O. The amount of CH4 must increase 100-fold to make it comparable to H2O.
        Because of that, methane is irrelevant as a greenhouse gas. The high per-molecule absorption cross section of CH4 makes no difference at all in our real atmosphere.

        Unfortunately, this numerical reality is overlooked by most people. There is a lot of misinformation floating around, causing needless worry. The tiny increases in methane associated with cows may elicit a few giggles, but it absolutely cannot be the basis for sane regulations or national policy.”

      • In the moist tropics, which cover a huge swath of the planet, H2O is about 4%. Maybe a little less at night, as it condenses, but nights in the moist tropics don’t get all the cool, as opposed to the dry tropics.

      • When you pump up oil, the gas comes out of solution. With no pipeline to market in remote fields, all of it is flared off. So the direct intent is to get rid of it as tanker trucks to haul out the oil are too explosive topped off with methane gas.

      • Now it’s necessary to scrutinize the figure very carefully. Looking across the wavelength scale at the bottom, H2O absorbs strongly in the 3-micron region, and again between 5 and 7 microns; then it absorbs to some degree beyond about 12 microns. CO2 has absorption bands centered around 2.5 microns, 4.3 microns, and has a broad band out beyond 13 microns. Consequently, CO2 adds a small contribution to the greenhouse effect. Notice that sometimes CO2 bands overlap with H2O bands, and with vastly more H2O present, CO2 doesn’t matter in those bands.

        Looking at the second graph in the figure, methane (CH4) has narrow absorption bands at 3.3 microns and 7.5 microns (the red lines).

        Not only is there overlap in these absorption bands by the various radiative gasses, one important point often over looked is that the LWIR radiant spectrum emitted at 288K (being the global mean temperature), contains very little IR radiant energy at wavelengths shorter than 5.0 microns.

        It follows from this important fact that the 3.3 micron absorption band of Methane, and the 4.3 micron (and shorter wavelength, eg the 2.5 micron) CO2 absorption bands are all but completely inactive, such that these cannot add anything of significance to to the DWLWIR.

        One needs to get from the laboratory to the real world. The effectiveness of Methane and CO2 is overstated since people frequently overlook the IR wavelength at which the Earth is emitting. It is not simply that water vapour is the most abundant radiative gas, but in places where there is little overlap in the absorption bands, the planet is not emitting much IR radiative energy in those wavelength.

    • @Chris: Do yourself a favor and do a little (or maybe a lot of) reading on the subject of cost-benefit analysis:
      http://www.dummies.com/careers/project-management/performing-a-cost-benefit-analysis/.

      A cost-benefit analysis weighs the value of a benefit of a project (in business) or, in this case, a regulation against the cost of the project or regulation. The results of the cost-benefit analysis should determine whether the project, regulation etc.. is worth it. If the cost exceed the value of the benefit, it flunks the test and should not be pursued. It is a step backwards to impose a cost on society without adequate benefit to justify it.

      You are the one supporting the regulation here, so please answer these questions:
      1) Was a cost-benefit analysis done against this regulation? Please post it here if there is one that is available online.
      2) Was it determined that the value of the benefit exceeded the cost of the regulation to society? What scientific, economic and other criteria were used to obtain that determination?

      • EPA regulations are the only ones in the United States which are exempt from cost/benefit analysis. In fact, it isn’t allowed.

      • I posted a comment asking what the evidence/analysis was that showed that this regulation would threaten jobs, prosperity and living standards. Eric Worrall called it a job killing standard – if that is the case, shouldn’t there be some evidence to support that statement?.Thus far, there are 17 comments in reply to mine. Zero of them answered the question in any substantive way. CD said it is my responsibility. No, it is not, It’s Eric that made this claim, not I.

      • If you cannot flare off the gas, the oil field has to be shut it. The methane rule is simply a war on oil. Most of the time there are no pipelines to transport the gas from many fields. Oil is easily transportable, gas is not.

      • “The methane rule is simply a war on oil”

        So are SOx and NOx emissions rules for power plants a war on coal and natural gas?

      • Chris, you are looking for something more complex than is needed. You don’t need a complex financial analysis to address the basic point. Logic is good enough. Meeting the requirements of extra regulatory burden will always add costs, making the industry less profitable. A less profitable industry is bad news for employment in that industry.

        You might well argue about the magnitude of the effect on jobs and wages, but the effect is clearly going to be negative. Of course some people would argue that you create employment because somebody will then be tasked with filling out all the extra paper work, but I’m sure you wouldn’t really want to be associated with those kind of people.

    • It increases the cost of doing business. Besides, the oil and gas companies sell methane and do not like to waste it. Also, much more methane leaks from the deep sea bottom naturally.

    • Where’s the evidence that the rule does anything to stop warming, or does anything except make unnecessary problems for fossil fuel companies and provide an opportunity to morality posers.

    • @Chris: Does regulating SOx and NOx emissions from power plants force them to shut down? If it did, we probably wouldn’t have any of them up and running today. It just translates into higher electricity prices instead — which the poor can afford the least. So much for Dems who advocate for the poor.

      As Donald Kasper stated above, when oil wells/fields cannot flare off their natural gas, then those fields or wells have to shut down. Lost jobs and higher prices from lower oil and nat gas supplies. Thanks to D. Kasper and Michael Hart above for their comments and explaining all of this better than I did with my cost/benefit comment.

      The bottom line here Chris is that advances in energy generation technologies (like 4th generation nuclear power) is what will move us forward toward a post-fossil fuels world someday, not an over-aggressive war on the existing technologies. History has shown us this numerous times (cars replacing horses and buggies for example and jet aircraft replacing trains for long distance transportation).

      There is something to be said for doing things in the proper order.

    • The people who say that methane is an important greenhouse gas have zero technical knowledge. I bet you can find no technical proof that methane absorbs more radiation than CO2 in the EPA archives. However, there is plenty of proof that methane is insignificant. Study the chapter in Perry’s Chemical engineering Handbook where you will find evidence. Also, look at this post https://cementafriend.wordpress.com/2011/10/
      Any rule about methane is nonsense and should be scrapped. That Betty McCollum is an ignorant fool of a socialist democrat.

  2. The fracking revolution is also substantially responsible for America’s large decrease in carbon dioxide emissions. You’re welcome.

    • And that is why the US will continue to reduce its CO2 emissions, and reduce these emissions more effectively than any other developed western nation, even though it is pulling out of the Paris Accord.

  3. We know that the recent growth in atmospheric methane (since about 2007) is mostly from biogenic sources and not from fossil fuel emissions. See, for example:

    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/2016GB005406/full

    “The isotopic evidence presented here suggests that the methane rise was dominated by significant increases in biogenic methane emissions, particularly in the tropics, for example, from expansion of tropical wetlands in years with strongly positive rainfall anomalies or emissions from increased agricultural sources such as ruminants and rice paddies.”

  4. Rep. Betty McCollum (D-Minn.) said during floor debate.

    So still absolutely no requirement for these pretentious old windbags to have even One Single Clue about what they’re talking about.
    Not even one?

    We’re a’ doomed. Doomed a’ tell ya

  5. It must pass the Senate. It’s likely RINO’s McCain (AZ), Murkowski (AK), Collins (ME) will not vote for it. That leaves the Republicans with only 49 yes votes.

      • Per the constitution, all bills raising revenue (taxes) must start in House. Congress has the power of the purse (until the Obama Regime went unconstitutional with ObamaCare payouts.). Spending (appropriation bills) can be worked on simultaneously in both chambers, but all differences have to be reconciled (eliminated). But Both House and Senate must then pass all reconciled legislation before the President can sign it.

      • Per the constitution, all bills raising revenue (taxes) must start in House. Congress has the power of the purse (until the Obama Regime went unconstitutional with ObamaCare payouts.). Spending (appropriation bills) can be worked on simultaneously in both chambers, but all differences have to be reconciled (eliminated). But Both House and Senate must then pass all reconciled legislation before the President can sign it.

  6. Just as well. the concept of a ‘Greenhouse Gas’ is a grievous error anyway. The important property of a gas that contributes to the thermal properties of the atmosphere is the Heat Capacity Cp, as shown by the derivation of the adiabatic lapse rate: dT/dh = – g/Cp, which gives the rate at which the atmosphere cools (dT) as altitude (dh) changes in terms of the acceleration due to gravity (g) and the Heat Capacity at constant Pressure (Cp). The contribution of CO2 and methane at their comparatively low concentrations is negligible.

  7. The product also reduces CO2 in the atmosphere! This is why the US leads all other countries worldwide in CO2 reductions. Even capitalism proves itself once more to be best for the environment and the well being of citizens. Who’d a thunk.

    • California has bought the U.N. global green agenda. Now they can live with this agenda and pay for it.

      Done on the sub-national level and now the push will be to extend this agenda onto other states.

      Includes carbon taxes, cap-and-trade, green bonds, renewable energy, EVs, etc.

      • “California has bought the U.N. global green agenda. Now they can live with this agenda and pay for it.”

        Ah yes, the UN again – they’re behind everything, aren’t they? The Fortune 1000 has bought in as well, so that means virtually all big companies are moving towards 100% renewable energy. That will cause other states to deploy RE more than any “agenda” you refer to.

      • The Fortune 1000 has bought in as well, so that means virtually all big companies are moving towards 100% renewable energy.

        As long as there are government subsidies to be had, or mandated payments to be had from consumers, of course big business backs a plan that results in them creaming more money.

      • In Chris’s world, when you bribe someone to do something, that’s proof that they wanted to do it all along.

      • Richard Verney, please enlighten me about all the subsidies that are to be had for reducing energy use, i.e. energy efficiency. Go ahead, I’ll wait.

    • There is an echo in here: Did I not read “defund”? I thought the House Of Representatives had the “power of the purse”. They can cut off the money to implement the rule, even if it stays on the books. In fact, Congress cannot invalidate any EPA rule, since Congress long ago granted EPA independent rulemaking power.

      • Independent rule making power just means that they don’t have to get congress to pass a rule before it goes into affect, it doesn’t mean that congress can’t over turn any rule passed.

  8. Somehow I can’t see one country invading another country because that country has an overabundance of wind turbines and solar panels.

  9. RIP Walter Becker. I heard it was you, talking ’bout a world where all is free, it just couldn’t be, and only a fool would say that.

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