Oil groups warn against new EPA methane push

Oil groups warn against new EPA methane push

A coalition of national and state oil groups is warning federal regulators against moving too quickly on methane leak standards for existing drilling sites. 

In a filing with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the groups said the agency’s collection of data for a new methane rule “has all the signs of a rushed job,” officials with the Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA) said. 

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The coalition — along with the American Exploration and Production Council and 47 state oil and gas associations — filed comments on the EPA’s Information Collection Request (ICR) for a methane rule on Tuesday. On Wednesday, they announced they have formally requested the EPA reconsider its information request. 

An ICR is the first step in the EPA’s rule-making process for methane leak rules at existing oil and gas sites. The agency this year finalized standards for new and modified drilling operations, and announced earlier this summer that regulations for existing sites would follow. 

Both rules are part of an Obama administration effort to reduce American methane emissions by 40 percent to 45 percent, from 2012 levels, by 2025. Methane is the primary component of natural gas, and drillers have resisted the rules, saying they are cutting down on emissions on their own without regulations. 

The IPAA was one of many trade groups to formally sue the EPA this week over the new source standards, as well.

“We found significant elements of the agency’s new regulatory scheme to be excessive, uneconomic, and threatening to the long-term production of oil and natural gas in the United States without corresponding environmental benefits,” IPAA executive vice president Lee Fuller said in a statement.

“After more than a year of trying to communicate industry’s concerns to the EPA on the economic burdens associated with this new rule, during an already economically challenging time for the industry, independent producers were compelled to pursue legal pathways since the final rule omits flexibility for smaller, independent companies.”