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THE INDUSTRY REACTION: The oil and gas industry is still sorting out its positioning after the EPA this morning released its highly anticipated proposal to regulate methane emissions from new and existing sources.

Earlier this year, groups like the American Petroleum Institute, Chamber of Commerce and AXPC flipped positions, endorsing the concept of the EPA imposing an expansion of direct regulation of methane to include infrastructure built before 2015, the vast majority of well sites in existence.

Industry support for actual methane rules was always going to hinge on the details, and they aren’t ready to say if they're satisfied.

“We are for the direct regulation, new and existing, and this is a proposed rule for which there are many details and we’ll be engaging during the comment period to help shape,” API spokesman Bethany Aronhalt Williams told Josh, expanding upon the group’s official statement that stressed the need for a final rule that is “effective, feasible and designed to encourage further innovation.”

Anne Bradbury, CEO of AXPC, which represents large independent producers, stressed the EPA regulatory process is the “appropriate way to address methane emissions” in the U.S. but said the rules “will likely result in significant new costs associated with compliance,” and warned Democrats against adding a methane fee to the mix as part of their climate and social spending legislation.

The Independent Petroleum Association of America, a trade group representing independent oil and gas producers and service companies, said it is “encouraged” by its first look at EPA’s proposed regulations.

“The agency has tried to be responsive to our concerns for improved cost-effective monitoring technology and recognizing the importance of addressing challengers” of smaller producers who would face higher compliance costs, said CEO Barry Russell.

What it means: Some environmental activists accused the industry of being mum so it can work behind the scenes to weaken the rules as they are finalized sometime before the end of 2022.

Rosalie Winn of the Environmental Defense Fund said it’s a normal part of the process for companies to work through concerns, since there “there is a lot here to understand.”

How EPA seeks to accommodate industry: Arvind Ravikumar, a professor in the petroleum engineering department at the University of Texas, told Josh the rules contain built-in “flexibility” to accommodate different shapes of oil and gas companies.

The rules would require companies operating oil or gas wells estimated to emit more than three tons of methane annually to search for leaks quarterly and fix any found. But if operators can demonstrate in a one-time survey that they are free of leaks or malfunctions, they don’t face monitoring requirements.

Ravikumar said the EPA is focused on sources most likely to have large emissions — so-called super-emitters — such as storage tanks and flares.

EPA is also promoting the use of new advanced measurement technologies like satellites, planes, and drones, which are much faster at detecting methane emissions, especially super-emitters.

If companies use these technologies, they are subjected to leak surveys more frequently -- every two months. But compliance would be much cheaper on a per-site basis than using the traditional way of detecting methane leaks at a production site by using a hand-held camera.

Using that method costs operators $600 per site on average, said Ravikumar, who said companies can usually complete four to six visits per day. But 100 to 200 site visits a day could be done by plane — easier done in the Permian Basin than in the Marcellus Shale, Ravikumar noted, highlighting the importance of flexibility for the industry.

Welcome to Daily on Energy, written by Washington Examiner Energy and Environment Writers Josh Siegel (@SiegelScribe) and Jeremy Beaman (@jeremywbeaman). Email or for tips, suggestions, calendar items, and anything else. If a friend sent this to you and you’d like to sign up, click here. If signing up doesn’t work, shoot us an email, and we’ll add you to our list.

BIDEN TOUTS METHANE MOVES AT COP26: The Biden administration is touting the methane regulations as having the potential to produce immediate emissions cuts in what it hopes will bolster U.S. clout at the ongoing U.N. climate conference in Glasgow, Scotland.

“As global leaders convene at this pivotal moment in Glasgow for COP26, it is now abundantly clear that America is back and leading by example in confronting the climate crisis with bold ambition,” said EPA Administrator Michael Regan.

Speaking this morning, President Joe Biden said limiting methane is "one of the most important things we can do is to keep 1.5 degrees in reach."

Combating methane emissions can have a more immediate effect than cutting carbon because methane is more than 80 times more potent than carbon over a 20-year period, although it degrades faster in the atmosphere compared to carbon, which lingers for 100 years.

Once they are finalized, the rules will add heft to a Global Methane Pledge the U.S. recently launched with the EU to reduce methane emissions 30% economywide by 2030. More than 100 countries have since joined the pledge, the White House announced at COP26 today.

It’s likely to be more than a few years though before EPA’s regulations take a bite into methane emissions. As Chris Knight of Argus Media notes, EPA's “Regulatory Impact Analysis” shows big methane cuts don't begin until 2026, given the time it takes to finalize the rules and actually enforce compliance.

‘PLUGGED IN’ PODCAST: CURBELO SAYS GOP SHOULD ‘DO MORE’ ON CLIMATE: Former Republican Rep. Carlos Curbelo of Florida says he’s proud to have kickstarted his party's "evolution" on climate change, but he is challenging the GOP to do more.

Curbelo, the original co-founder of the bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus, joined Josh and co-host former FERC chairman Neil Chatterjee on the latest episode of their “Plugged In” podcast this afternoon.

“There is no question Republicans are embracing policies that will reduce how much we pollute the air with carbon emissions,” Curbelo said. “Should they do more? Absolutely.”

Curbelo dismissed “disingenuous” claims by some conservatives who said he lost his seat in 2018 because of his stance on climate change, especially his advocacy for a carbon tax as the first Republican nearly a decade to introduce a pricing bill.

“It was the opposite,” Curbelo said, noting he outperformed every Republican on the ballot in what was the most Democratic-leaning district held by a GOP member at the time.

Carbon pricing and methane: Curbelo said it remains a “heavy lift” for Republicans to support carbon pricing — only one current GOP member of Congress has introduced or co-sponsored legislation — but suggested that could change.

“I am aware there’s probably a handful of Republicans in the Senate who would be considering supporting this kind of policy if they were included...if they could design the entire thing, especially the expenditures part,” Curbelo said.

He also challenged Republicans to “come around on regulating methane,” noting the GOP joined Democrats to support phasing out the use of HFCs, a potent pollutant used in refrigerants as part of clean energy legislation last year.

“Seriously, who the hell wants to be for methane emissions?” Curbelo said. “Not even the people who would benefit from that, if they got to do it at no cost, they are against it too because they know it’s bad and unsustainable.”

Running again? Curbelo closed by telling us that while he remains “happy doing what I can from the outside” advocating on issues like climate change, running again for public office is something, “I think about and have a passion for.”

“It’s something that maybe, six, eight years down the line I would look at,” said Curbelo, reminding us he is only 41 years old. “There could be another round of that madness for me.”

BIDEN PLANS BILLIONS FOR WORLD’S FORESTS: Biden detailed a plan in Glasgow this morning to contribute billions over the next decade to support the conservation of global forests, calling the effort an "indispensable" piece of his climate agenda.

"We need to approach this issue with the same seriousness of purpose as decarbonizing our economy,” Biden said.

The $9 billion plan would fund projects such as conservation and landscape restoration and the development of better data systems to preserve forests and other ecosystems, which serve as "carbon sinks" for their maintenance of carbon emitted by fossil fuels and natural processes.

More than 100 nations across the globe also agreed to halt and reverse deforestation by 2030, signing a "Declaration on Forests and Land Use" announced today. The signatory governments represent 85% of the world’s forests, and the pledge commits $12 billion in public funds to see its aims through.

IT’S BUILD BACK BETTER...BUT GLOBAL: Biden also met with his counterparts and global financial leaders this morning to discuss how to move forward with the G-7’s “Build Back Better World” initiative, which is basically Biden’s domestic agenda on steroids.

The initiative was announced alongside the G-7 meeting in June and assessed the developing world’s infrastructure needs to be worth upwards of $40 trillion, with a stated aim of encouraging financing to address those needs and to combating climate change simultaneously.

As part of that, the U.S., U.K., EU, France, and Germany announced a plan today to help South Africa — the continent’s largest greenhouse gas emitter — finance its transition away from coal to the tune of $8.5 billion through grants, loans, and private investments.

“Our pursuit of global net-zero can drive global leveling up, helping developing economies fast-track their way to a more prosperous, clean, and green future,” British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said.

INDIA TARGETS NET-ZERO BY 2070: India, one of the few major global emitters to have an outstanding emissions pledge going into COP26, said it aims to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2070.

The target, which Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced in a speech before his peers at the conference yesterday, includes a goal to produce half of the country’s electricity using renewable energy by 2030.

The 2070 target puts the globe’s third largest emitter 20 years behind the likes of the United States and United Kingdom, which have committed to net-zero by 2050, and 10 years behind top-emitting China.

Modi leaned on the world’s wealthiest nations to help finance the developing world’s transition away from fossil fuels, saying India expects those countries to “make $1 trillion available as climate finance as soon as possible.”

BIDEN TEAM POINTS FINGER AT CHINA: One of Biden’s top advisers criticized China for failing to bolster its plans to reduce emissions:

“It's on them,” White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters yesterday, ahead of COP26, as the Washington Examiner’s Joel Gerhke reports. "They are a big country with a lot of resources and a lot of capabilities, and they are perfectly well capable of living up to their responsibilities. It's up to them to do so.”

Sullivan dinged China as one of the “significant outliers” from other wealthy countries working to prevent global warming from exceeding 1.5 degrees Celsius.

“So, we go into COP with roughly 65% of the world's economy in line with the 1.5-degree commitment, with still some significant outliers,” Sullivan said. “One of those significant outliers being China, who will not be represented at the leader level at COP26 and who we do believe has an obligation to step up to greater ambition as we go forward. And we'll keep pressing on that.”

A change in tune: Sullivan’s biting comments are a departure from the tack taken by climate envoy John Kerry, who has cautioned against public criticisms of Beijing in order to foster cooperation.

MANCHIN’S LATEST WARNING: Sen. Joe Manchin is hitting the brakes on Democrats' $1.75 trillion climate and social spending plan, saying it needs more work and consideration before he throws his support behind it, the Washington Examiner’s Susan Ferrechio reports.

Manchin, a West Virginia centrist Democrat, told reporters yesterday he wanted to know how the framework as proposed by the White House and supported by House progressives "would impact our debt, and our economy, and our country."

Manchin's announcement threatens a planned vote on the package as soon as this week in the House, as well as a second vote on a $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill Biden is eager to sign into law. Biden has been touting both packages in Glasgow, but he surely prefers progress while he’s there to assure world leaders that a record $555 billion in clean energy-related funding will actually come through.

Washington Rep. Pramila Jayapal, the chairwoman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, signaled shortly after Manchin's comments that they would not deter her members.

US AND ROMANIA TO PARTNER ON SMR: The two governments will announce a plan today to build a small modular reactor plant in Romania with Oregon-based NuScale Power, per a White House preview.

The partnership, which is expected to initially create a total 6,000 jobs in both countries, furthers U.S. involvement with nuclear energy development in central and eastern Europe. A separate agreement made during the Trump administration committed the U.S. to helping fund nuclear projects in Poland, although those plans utilize the longer standing (and larger scale) light water reactor technology rather than the novel SMR.

CANADA TO CAP OIL AND GAS SECTOR EMISSIONS: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau committed Canada to capping coil and gas sector emissions “at a pace and scale needed to reach net-zero by 2050” during a speech at COP26 yesterday.

"That's no small task for a major oil and gas-producing country,” Trudeau said, calling it “a big step that's absolutely necessary."

The cap hasn’t yet been drafted, but it’s sure to have major implications for the United States’s northern neighbor, which maintains the largest deposit of crude oil on Earth and is among the world’s top oil producers.

CLEAN ENERGY EMPLOYS IN EVERY CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT — REPORT: A new analysis from environmental and business group E2 found that all 435 congressional districts are home to clean energy jobs — jobs in construction, engineering, research and development that support wind, solar, and other renewable energy projects — and all but three maintain at least 1,000 such jobs.

Democratic-led districts account for 54.3%, or 1,655,244, of all clean energy jobs nationally, while Republican-led districts account for 44.9%, or 1,368,040. Another 25,320 jobs are in districts currently vacant.

States with the highest concentrations of these jobs are California, Texas, and New York respectively, with California’s share topping out at nearly half a million.

“The big takeaway here is that these are jobs in every part of America,” Bob Keefe, executive director of E2, said during a press conference announcing the findings. “They're in Tampa, they're in California, but they're also in the heartland of America.”

FERC NOMINEE PHILLIPS APPROVED BY COMMITTEE: The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee voted this morning to advance Willie Phillips Jr.’s nomination to be the next commissioner at FERC. The full Senate will need to vote on his nomination before he would join the commission, which would give Democrats a 3-2 majority.

In his confirmation hearing last month, Phillips said he would take a “balanced” approach to his job and does not support a total transition off fossil fuels. But he also suggested he would side with FERC’s sitting Democrats who want to take a more critical look at emissions’ downstream effects when reviewing pipelines and LNG projects.

John Barrasso, the top Republican on the committee, voted for Phillips, who he said “will bring a wealth of expertise in safeguarding energy reliability and affordability” to FERC as former chairman of Washington D.C.’s Public Service Commission, the utility regulator.

The Rundown

Wall Street Journal China binges on US gas to manage energy shortage, carbon footprint

Bloomberg BP looks dirtier than Exxon in new data from giant US oil field



10 a.m. 366 Dirksen. The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing to examine the potential non-electric applications of civilian nuclear energy.