API petitions federal court to review EPA oil, gas emissions rule

This story was updated on Aug. 4.

The American Petroleum Institute has sued the US Environmental Protection Agency, challenging the agency’s final rule that imposes emissions limits for new, reconstructed, and modified oil and gas sources. The Aug. 2 petition to the US Appeals Court for the District of Columbia seeks a judicial review for regulations the agency issued on June 3, alleging that EPA failed to adhere to specific Clean Air Act limitations on how the agency can develop regulations.

API Managing Counsel John Wagner said, “Even as oil and gas production has risen dramatically, carbon emissions have fallen, thanks to industry leadership and investment in new technologies. Consumers and businesses are seeing significant savings through lower energy costs largely driven by the revolution in US shale energy production.”

API said other industry groups and a coalition of 14 states also have sued EPA, calling on the federal court to assess the agency’s rule on the grounds that it has exceeded its statutory authority. The Independent Petroleum Association of America reported Aug. 3 that it, the International Association of Drilling Contractors, and 17 other national and state upstream associations also petitioned the DC federal appeals court on Aug. 2 for a judicial review of EPA’s new oil and gas-related methane emissions rule.

“After more than a year of trying to communicate industry’s concerns to 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,” IPAA Executive Vice-Pres. Lee O. Fuller said.

The two oil and gas industry lawsuits came the same day that IPAA, American Exploration & Production Council, and 47 other upstream independents’ groups recommended that EPA use its recent information collection request to learn more about the industry because of problems they saw in the agency’s recent emissions limits rule (OGJ Online, Aug. 3, 2016). The GPA Midstream Association, the former Gas Processors Association, also raised concerns in comments that it submitted.API said other industry groups and a coalition of 14 states also have sued EPA, calling on the federal court to assess the agency’s rule on the grounds that it has exceeded its statutory authority.

It said it does not believe EPA should regulate methane emissions from existing sources, and offered a series of constructive comments on the proposed ICR, which the association said would clarify, improve, and streamline the request, if EPA and the White House Office of Management and Budget elect to proceed with the information gathering effort.

“GPA Midstream has a long history of working collaboratively with EPA, and will work with them on this particular issue to lessen the regulatory burdens and minimize the costs this will have on the midstream industry,” said Mark Sutton, president of the Tulsa-based organization.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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