Stripper well producers face failure if implementation of EPA methane rules is allowed to continue

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National Stripper Well Association Chairwoman Darlene Wallace said the small businesses of the American oil and gas industry are looking at certain collapse if stripper wells are not exempted from the new methane rules.

OKLAHOMA CITY – Congress should act swiftly and decisively to protect America’s marginal oil and gas well owners and operators, said National Stripper Well Association Chairwoman Darlene Wallace.

Wallace and the National Stripper Well Association (NSWA) have been highly critical of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for the agency’s efforts to destroy the American small oil and gas industry and, additionally, for failing to meet their own deadlines. Wallace has called on Congress to protect the smallest, most economically-vulnerable domestic oil and natural gas companies, and has highlighted recent litigation.

“EPA should be aware of, and held accountable for, the economic damage done to small producers by forced compliance with regulations that simply shouldn’t apply to stripper well producers,” Wallace said.

In May 2016, NSWA fought for an exemption of small producers from the effects of the new methane control rules, but in the issuance of the final rule, the exemption for low-producing wells was eliminated. This significant and radical change was unannounced for most producers, and they have been struggling to comply since, Wallace said.

Wallace cited an EPA Regulatory Impact Analysis that stated that within 60 days, EPA would issue a “Small Entity Compliance Guide” to help stripper well producers comply with the rule.

“Yet, we are nearly 80 days from the May 12 announcement of the rule and 60 days from the June 3 Federal Register notice and the EPA implementation website contains no compliance guide,” she said. “As unprepared as small producers were to be included in this rule, the EPA is as equally unprepared to give us guidance.”

Wallace said the failure of EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy and the agency, to learn about the stripper well industry is no excuse for failing to meet their own deadlines to issue guidance.

“In the face of these failures, it should come as no surprise that this week, NSWA along with many other national and state trade associations filed notice of a lawsuit challenging this deeply misguided EPA rule,” Wallace said. “Our hope is that the courts can recognize and undo the deep injustice done to small producers as a result of this radical rule change.”

In addition, NSWA continues to call on Congress to stop this rule or at least restore the small producer exemption originally proposed by EPA, she said.

“Failure to provide relief from this rule to small producers threatens our ability to conserve America’s resources and harms the environment by jeopardizing existing facilities before their lifespan is complete,” Wallace said.

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