"The more gas we keep in our pipes and equipment, the more we can provide to the market", said Susan Dio, president of BP America, in an emailed statement explaining the company's support for the measure.
"The voluntary [self-regulation] argument falls flat just by looking out at western Texas with the sky on fire from flares", says Colin Leyden, who works on regulation for the Environmental Defense Fund in Texas.
It is the latest in President Donald Trump's long battle against environmental protection rules, coming weeks after his administration made fundamental changes to a widely popular wildlife protection law and re-authorized the use of "cyanide bombs" to kill animals that prey on livestock. US EPA's regulatory impact analysis estimates that the proposed amendments would save the oil and natural gas industry $17-$19 million a year.
He said this proposal withdraws regulations from parts of the oil and gas industry notorious for emitting methane, such as storage tanks.
Methane is a component of natural gas that's frequently wasted through leaks or intentional releases during drilling operations.
He says the EPA move adds to US advantages over Canada including its corporate tax reductions, better pipeline approval system and more efficient regulatory systems.
Methane powerfully traps heat, and can warm the atmosphere at 25 times the rate of carbon dioxide. "Quite frankly, it's a want and they certainly indicated" that.
Trump has pushed to open vast expanses of US wilderness and coastline to oil and gas drilling, speed construction of petroleum pipelines and ease regulations on the industry, dismissing calls from scientists in and out of government for rapid cuts in oil, gas and coal emissions to stave off the worst of climate change. In recent years, numerous world's biggest energy firms have rallied around a carbon tax as a climate measure they can support, with some committing millions to lobby for such a policy. Murray Energy has long fought climate legislation, leading critics to believe Wheeler's decision-making at the EPA is compromised by his extensive prior involvement with the industry he is charged with regulating. "If it's perceived that because of intense methane leakage, natural gas can not play a role in the low-carbon future, that impacts their business".
In some places, companies will pay to have the gas transported away.
While these companies' proposed solutions are rejected by climate advocates, they remain more progressive on the issue than many of their smaller counterparts.
Independent producers, though, say they don't have the resources of Big Oil to comply with the regulations.
The rule would revoke limits on methane emissions for other parts of the industry it says are redundant because it already regulates volatile organic compounds, including methane. The trade association has no formal position on a carbon tax, but generally opposes new industry regulations. "The wealth is under its feet", he said, praising oil and gas production.
"You've got to remember", Heiti Heitkamp, a former Democratic Senator from North Dakota, told me earlier this year, "those major oil companies are not the industry".