The Trump regime announced this week that they would begin the formal process of rolling back Obama-era regulations on methane gas emissions that required drillers to trap excess methane that leaks into the atmosphere during the drilling process.
Now, that is among the least surprising news stories you could put in front of me, but here's something we didn't know: the amount of money this will save natural gas companies is negligible at best.
By their own estimates, this will amount to a rounding error for most companies.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said the changes will save the industry $75 million a year in regulatory costs between 2019 and 2025, while increasing methane emissions.
Methane, the primary component of natural gas, leaks from oil and gas wells during drilling. It accounts for 10 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions and has more than 80 times the heat-trapping potential of carbon dioxide in the first 20 years after it escapes into the atmosphere.
Why will this save the industry only $75 million per year?
Because the largest and most successful drilling companies were already trapping excess emissions. You may recall that when the Trump regime halted enforcement of the Obama-era methane regulations last year, some of the largest drilling companies were actually angry about it because all that did was allow their smaller competitors to get away with being dirtier than they are.
Companies that have already installed the necessary hardware to stop gas leaks aren't going to uninstall it just because the Trump regime is no longer enforcing the rule, but smaller companies will be allowed to pollute the atmosphere without a second thought if the rules are rolled back.
Hurricane Florence will probably cause more than $75 million in damage before it even reaches lands. It may have already cost that much in lost business activity at the time of this writing. The cost of enforcing environmental regulations is inconsequential compared to the cost of doing nothing. Just one super-charged storm can cause a hundred billion dollars of damage.