New methane rule has North Dakotans split

Published: Nov. 29, 2022 at 6:24 PM CST
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - The Biden administration has proposed a new rule to reduce carbon emissions. People in North Dakota are split about how it will affect the state’s oil and gas industry.

Flaring is a familiar sight in the Bakken. But if a new rule from the Department of the Interior goes through, it soon won’t be as common on public and tribal lands.

”What the rule is really doing is trying to reduce the amount of waste in the extraction of oil and gas, and specifically that waste is from flaring, venting, and leaks,” said Scott Skokos, executive director of the Dakota Resource Council.

And while some think the rule just adds to federal bureaucracy and regulation of oil and gas...

”We already capture 95% in North Dakota, but operations on the federal lands are impeded by the same cumbersome bureaucracy that’s now trying to penalize them,” said Senator Kevin Cramer, R-ND.

Others believe it’ll be effective in saving energy waste with the added effect of health benefits.

”We have a serious infrastructure problem and you need to have carrots and sticks to fix that, and one of those would be this rule and other rules that are coming out. And I think it’s only fair to say that this just makes the industry more responsible and more accountable to the people in North Dakota,” said Skokos.

The Biden administration says the new rule will require upgrades to pneumatic equipment to avoid methane leaks, to create leak detection plans and develop waste minimization plans, and to limit monthly flaring. Senator Kevin Cramer says that’s too much regulation.

”It’ll add cost, and cost means added price to the products that are created by oil, things like gasoline and diesel, the staples that we use in our economy throughout the country. So, this is really bad on so many levels,” said Cramer.

The Interior Department claims the regulations are due to a report that highlighted potential lost revenue on public and tribal lands.

The official language of the proposed rule will be available in the coming days. Public comments will be accepted on regulations.gov for 60 days following the rule’s publication.