Independent Producers Comments to the Environmental Protection Agency on its Proposed Two-Year Stay of its Methane Rule for the Oil and Natural Gas Sector

Independent Producers Comments to the Environmental Protection Agency on its Proposed Two-Year Stay of its Methane Rule for the Oil and Natural Gas Sector

Dear Administrator Pruitt: The Independent Producers have participated individually or through IPAA in most, if not all, of the rulemakings and associated litigation since the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed to revise the New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) for the Oil and Natural Gas Sector in August 2011. 76 Fed. Reg. 52,738 (Aug. 23, 2011). While most of the Independent Producers represent companies that engage in large volume hydraulic fracturing horizontal or unconventional drilling, a significant portion of their membership is also comprised of “mom and pop” operations that engage in some form of hydraulic fracturing, generally involving vertical wells drilled into geological formations currently referred to as conventional wells. From the beginning of these rulemakings, most of the Independent Producers have tried to explain to the EPA that their “one-size-fits-all” approach to regulating this industry is inappropriate. The Proposed Rule represents another, necessary, opportunity to work with the EPA to tailor 40 C.F.R. Part 60, Subpart 0000a to reduce the impact on the Independent Producers and their individual members while still providing adequate protection of the environment. The Independent Producers’ Petition for Reconsideration submitted on August 2, 2016, to the EPA outlines the primary issues that should be addressed during the two-year time period set forth in the Proposed Rule.1 As a result of various factors, including the regulatory burden, many individual members of the Independent Producers have not drilled a single well in the past five years. The Proposed Rule will have a tremendous benefit to the Independent Producers and their individual members, while having little to no negative impact on the environment. The proposed two-year time period is entirely appropriate for the Independent Producers to educate the new Administration on their concerns as well as make the appropriate and necessary changes to current regulations.

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