When methane policy and small business growth go hand-in-hand

Dan Upham

Here’s a true story you might not often hear: Smart regulations are creating conditions favoring small businesses, a cornerstone of America’s economy – while also bringing better-than-average-paying jobs.

For proof, one needs to look no further than to the rapidly growing methane mitigation industry. It’s going strong, ready to ramp up work with proven solutions in the wake of the Environmental Protection Agency’s recently-announced methane rules.

“Nearly 60 percent of the companies in our burgeoning methane mitigation industry are small businesses, the growth engine of the American economy,” my colleagues Ben Ratner and Sean Wright write on our Energy Exchange blog. “The median wage of over $30/hour is more than 50 percent greater than the nation’s average.”

That’s high-paying work for addressing a high-impact greenhouse gas. Methane is 84 times more potent than carbon dioxide in the short term. So addressing leaks in the oil and gas supply chain is necessary to turn the corner on climate change.

That mitigating these leaks creates economic opportunity in addition to climate benefits is among the many reasons support for EPA’s regulations is strong.

Environmental  Defense Fund earlier this year commissioned a report  to analyze the methane mitigation landscape and the findings, which Ben and Sean reference above, are staggering. The report highlights a robust and diverse industry, with more than 75 companies present at more than 500 locations across 46 states.

Consider the experience of Rebellion Photonics, Wall Street Journal’s 2013 “Startup of the Year.

Reducing the oil and gas industry’s methane emissions is an “urgent energy-waste and climate issue,” noted Rebellion’s Chief Executive Officer Allison Lami Sawyer when the new rules were released. Her company has developed camera technology that helps companies quickly find and repair leaks.

Business and job growth via methane mitigation is just one of the many positive outcomes of methane regulations. The new rules also help gas development achieve maximum environmental and economic benefits.

It helps explain why investors representing an impressive $1.5 trillion are already on board.

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