Charles Young | WV News

Jan. 20, 2022

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., detailed aspects of the federal infrastructure package relevant to industry stakeholders Thursday during the Gas and Oil Association of West Virginia’s annual winter meeting.

Capito, who Zoomed into the meeting from her Capitol Hill office, said the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act includes billions of dollars for orphaned well site remediation, carbon capture and sequestration technology, deployment of “hydrogen infrastructure” and an Appalachian ethane/hydrogen storage hub.

“These investments recognize the important role natural gas plays now and in the future in our energy sector and economy,” she said.

Capito also touched on President Joe Biden’s social infrastructure proposal, the Build Back Better bill, which she called “disastrous.”

“Make no mistake — it’s delayed but it’s not dead yet,” she said. “Liberal Democrats are itching to get back to work on it and spend trillions more, even with inflation the highest it’s been in decades.”

She is “especially concerned” about the proposed methane fee included in the BBB bill, Capito said.

“This methane fee should really be called a natural gas tax because that’s exactly what it is,” she said. “This would increase energy costs on American families and small businesses, disproportionally impacting middle and low-income households.”

Natural gas prices are already high due to inflation, increased demand and reduced supply, Capito said.

“But the Democrats are targeting natural gas for climate change blame when that sector’s technological advances have actually caused methane emissions to fall,” she said. “As our natural gas production and use have gone up, our country’s overall greenhouse gas emissions have gone down significantly.”

Despite this, the BBB act proposes “strict” new regulations on methane emissions in addition to the methane fee, Capito said.

“According to API (the American Petroleum Institute), the methane fee could cost approximately $9.1 billion and 90,000 jobs,” she said. “This is not about reducing emissions. Instead, it’s about targeting an industry — oil and gas — and the related good-paying jobs for wholly political purposes.”

The Biden administration has “consistently demonstrated it wants to work to destroy the oil and gas industry,” Capito said.

“The Biden administration is attacking oil and gas, not only through regulations at agencies like Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Energy and the Department of Interior, but also at our government’s financial regulators like the Securities and Exchange Commission.”