IPAA Raises Serious Concerns, Files Litigation Over EPA’s Final Methane Regulations

IPAA Raises Serious Concerns, Files Litigation Over EPA’s Final Methane Regulations

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Yesterday afternoon, the Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA) led efforts on two legal actions against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) related to its new regulations governing methane emissions for the oil and natural gas industry. IPAA, along with the American Exploration & Production Council (AXPC), and a number of coalition partners filed suit against EPA’s methane rule in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. Additionally, IPAA, AXPC, and a number of state energy trade associations sent a request to the EPA for administrative reconsideration of its final methane emissions rule for new and modified sources (Subpart OOOOa) published on June 3rd.

“Independent producers were forced to file these two actions against EPA because we found significant elements of the agency’s new regulatory scheme to be excessive, uneconomic, and threatening to the long-term production of oil and natural gas in the United States without corresponding environmental benefits,” said Lee Fuller, IPAA executive vice president. “After more than a year of trying to communicate industry’s concerns to the 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.”

Additionally, yesterday, IPAA led a coalition group in submitting formal comments to EPA on its information-gathering request on industry operations, which is intended to make EPA’s regulations governing oil and natural gas facilities more effective and workable. In June, EPA announced its intent to develop nationwide oil and natural gas production methane regulations for existing sources. The first step in that process is an Information Collection Request (ICR) under the Paperwork Reduction Act. While the ICR process could provide EPA with the understanding it needs to develop cost effective, environmentally appropriate existing source regulations, EPA’s proposal fails to meet this test. The energy trade associations urged the agency to take the opportunity to truly get a firm understanding of the complex U.S. oil and natural gas industry using already publicly available state permitting data instead of requiring industry to duplicate the same information.

The court petition and the reconsideration petition can be found on IPAA’s website.

Learn more about IPAA’s efforts to reduce methane emissions HERE.


IPAA President and CEO Barry Russell explained in a December 2014 op-ed in The Hill that reducing methane emissions has long-been an industry priority, but that has often gone unrecognized by the Obama Administration. IPAA, AXPC, and a number of allied trade partners submitted formal comments to EPA in December 2015 communicating their concerns related to three EPA regulatory proposals issued in September 2015 on new and modified sources, draft control technique guidelines, and source determination for certain emissions in the oil and natural gas sector. In their comments, the industry coalition raised a number of key issues demonstrating EPA’s proposals are unnecessary, unjustified, poorly developed, and counterproductive. These issues and others may be likely arguments used by the industry in court. EPA announced its intent to create a nationwide rule governing oil and gas emissions on existing sources in March 2016. “This new, aggressive proposal targets vulnerable independent producers” while EPA has provided “no concrete data that justifies the risks of shutting down significant amounts of American oil and natural gas production,” reacted IPAA’s Lee Fuller following the announcement.

In recent years, the U.S. oil and natural gas industry has boosted our economy with hundreds of thousands of American jobs, helped our nation crawl out of a lengthy recession, transformed our nation’s energy security, and serves as a $30 billion source of revenue, on average, to the U.S. Treasury. With the help of innovative new technologies and voluntary industry actions, the United States is leading the world in reducing its carbon emissions to near 20-year lows, while U.S. oil and natural gas production has risen to historic levels. According to an independent report conducted by the U.S. Energy Information Administration, changes in America’s energy sources “have accounted for 68% of the total energy-related CO2 reductions” over the last decade. Methane emissions from oil and natural gas production-related activities account for less than two percent of all of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States.

About the Independent Petroleum Association of America
The Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA) is a national upstream trade association representing thousands of independent oil and natural gas producers and service companies across the United States. Independent producers develop 90 percent of the nation’s oil and natural gas wells. These companies account for 54 percent of America’s oil production, 85 percent of its natural gas production, and support over 2.1 million American jobs. Learn more about IPAA by visiting www.ipaa.org and following @IPAAaccess on Twitter.

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