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Oil and Gas Update

EPA Reconsidering Methane Rule

May 5, 2017

By: Matthew S. Tyree

In an April 18, 2017 letter to oil and gas industry leaders, Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) Administrator Scott Pruitt announced that the agency will reconsider its June 3, 2016 methane emissions rule following a petition from three oil and gas industry associations. See EPA Letter here. The industry petition raised objections concerning provisions for receiving an alternative means of emissions limitations and the inclusion of low-production wells. See previous blog article concerning proposed rule here.  EPA determined that these objections could not have been raised during the public comment period because they concerned provisions that were not included in the proposed rule.

The June 3, 2016 Methane Rule set standards for methane and volatile organic compounds (“VOC”) emissions from new, modified, and reconstructed natural gas processing plants and compressor stations. See 81 Fed. Reg. 35824 (June 3, 2016).  Among other things, the Rule requires an initial monitoring survey at new well sites and compressor stations no later than June 3, 2017.  Given EPA’s reconsideration of the Methane Rule in light of industry comments, it also announced plans to issue a 90-day stay of the compliance date for the fugitive emissions monitoring requirements.

The reconsideration process allows EPA to provide an opportunity for public comment on the issues raised in the industry’s petitions that meet the standard of CAA section 307(d)(7)(B), along with any other matter the agency believes will benefit from additional comment.

This announcement adds another Obama-era EPA rule being reconsidered or reevaluated under the Pruitt-led EPA.

This article was authored by Matthew S. Tyree, Jackson Kelly, PLLC.

 

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