The legislative wrangling comes as the EPA is expected to release new methane regulations overnight. According to Julie McNamara, deputy policy director of the Climate and Energy program at the Union of Concerned Scientists, these rules could take the breath away of those claiming a methane royalty, but the two would actually complement each other.

She said these new EPA regulations should have wide application, cover weak and marginal producers, and include frequent monitoring. The fees would then function as an important safety net for those rules, she said.

“Having a policy that continues to shine a light on methane emissions from oil and gas operations is of critical importance to enforcing the monitoring, reporting and accountability of methane emissions that are not yet expected to occur,” McNamara said. “It forces operators to take action and we need it. “

She said that bringing methane emissions under control as quickly as possible will produce significant progress in tackling climate change, and that tackling methane waste is something companies should be able to accomplish.

“We have seen a few that have shown it can be done and yet we have seen the overwhelming majority of the industry not taking action,” she said.

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