WASHINGTON, June 14, 2017 – The Environmental Protection Agency is proposing a two-year stay of the Obama administration's methane emissions standards for the oil and gas industry to allow EPA time to reconsider the regulations.
The move would extend a 90-day administrative stay announced at the end of May of an agency rule requiring drillers to capture leaking emissions, obtain engineer certifications for well equipment and install leak detention devices.
The oil and gas industry said the rule, which EPA had finalized last May as part of the government’s effort to cut pollution, would be costly and duplicative, and it had urged regulators in the Trump administration to reconsider the measure.
The Western Energy Alliance, which has challenged the rule in court, applauded the decision. Alliance President Kathleen Sgamma said the regulations “represent vast overreach by the prior administration” and that the rule was likely to be overturned.
“We as a society learned with EPA’s mercury rule that forcing companies to comply with rules that are ultimately overturned because they exceed the government’s authority kills jobs and economic growth needlessly,” Sgamma said in a release. “The Trump administration is correcting that overreach from the prior administration, thereby saving jobs and supporting American energy independence.”
Sgamma said that even though the compliance dates are being postponed, “the industry will continue to increase methane capture rates as it has for the past three decades.” She noted that companies have reduced methane emissions significantly while boosting natural gas production. And she said this is being achieved through “technological innovation, without federal regulation.”
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