Guest Essays, Opinion

Guest essay: Methane mitigation means opportunity for W.Va.

by Delegate Evan Hansen

Methane, the primary component of natural gas, is used to heat our homes and cook our food. Yet, much of this valuable natural resource is wasted into thin air via emissions from the many smaller, low-producing wells with leak-prone equipment that dot our landscape. These wells are responsible for roughly half the emissions at U.S. well sites but account for merely 6% of the nation’s oil and gas production. This waste does not serve West Virginians or our economy and must be addressed.

Commonsense standards to cut this waste such as those proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency will produce good-paying, family-sustaining jobs and economic opportunities for our residents.

The methane mitigation industry is a rapidly expanding field, deploying robust technology to capture emissions, generating revenues that will rev up our economic engine. These jobs create opportunities in communities where natural gas is being sourced, allowing them to profit from the industry directly.

As West Virginians, we take pride in our reputation as a top energy producer. The methane mitigation industry will help ensure our status as the fifth-largest energy producer in the United States and will provide our energy workers with continued job security as we promote energy security. This is possible while creating a brighter, healthier future through reduction of the state’s greenhouse gas footprint.

I hope you’ll join me in encouraging other legislators to support the EPA’s sensible rule to cut methane emissions from the oil and gas sector, in order to provide new opportunities for West Virginia’s energy workers.

Delegate Evan Hansen represents the current House of Delegates 51st District in Monongalia County.