Update on Federal Regulations of Methane Emissions

Legislative, News, NSWA Legislative Report, NSWA NewsLeave a Comment

Aindriu Colgan, NSWA VP of Governmental Affairs

Last year, the Trump Administration issued a proposed reconsideration of the Obama’s Administration’s New Source Performance Standards. As you remember, the Obama EPA did not exempt low production wells from those methane emissions requirements. Instead, they bound low production wells to the same fugitive emissions requirements as larger wells, but stipulated that low production wells were only required to be inspected once every two years; large wells would have to be inspected every year.

NSWA participated with a number of other associations in submitting comments to the EPA in December as part of its reconsideration of this rule. These comments argued that the EPA should wait to regulate low production wells (defined as producing 15 barrels of oil equivalent a day or less) until the Department of Energy completed its study on fugitive emissions from low production wells. Part of that study is the survey we shared with our members. We believe that it makes the most sense for the EPA to wait to regulate low production wells until it actually knows how much methane they release.

The EPA is currently finalizing its reconsideration of the New Source Performance Standards. We estimate that it will likely send them to the White House’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) for review late next month. Once OIRA has completed its review, the final regulations will be returned to the EPA to be published in the Federal Register. We expect that to happen later this year.

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