EPA issues final ICR on emissions from existing oil, gas activity

The US Environmental Protection Agency issued a final Information Collection Request for existing oil and gas operations’ methane and other emissions. The final request reflects a number of changes based on comments about on two drafts of the ICR, which the agency issued for public review and comment earlier this year, the agency said.

Responding to the Nov. 10 announcement, American Petroleum Institute Senior Director of Regulatory and Scientific Affairs Howard J. Feldman said EPA’s decision to extent the timeframe for collecting appropriate data for the ICR was a good first step.

But a failure to resolve significant issues with its operator and facility contact information database before releasing the ICR could render the collected data skewed and therefore useless, he warned. “EPA should ensure accurate data that are representative of existing sources of methane emissions across all segments of our industry can be collected in this effort,” Feldman said.

“Furthermore, industry should have the opportunity, following completion of the ICR, to review and comment on any analyses developed by EPA, as the federal government determines whether or how to regulate existing operations in the oil and sector,” he said.

“EPA should avoid imposing additional, unnecessary burdens on a promising US energy renaissance that has reduced emissions to near 20-year lows and saved drivers $550 in fuel costs and American households [an average] $1,337 in 2015,” Feldman said.

He previously urged EPA and states not to impose more methane control regulations and guidelines on the US oil and gas industry until EPA completes its ICR and subsequent analyses (OGJ Online, Oct. 20, 2016).

The Independent Petroleum Association of America, American Exploration & Production Council, and 47 other US oil and gas trade associations urged EPA this summer in comments about the ICR to use it to learn more about the industry’s concerns and challenges (OGJ Online, Aug. 3, 2016).

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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