IPAA and Western Energy Alliance Welcome BLM Suspension of Obama-era Venting and Flaring Rule

IPAA and Western Energy Alliance Welcome BLM Suspension of Obama-era Venting and Flaring Rule

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA) and Western Energy Alliance today welcome the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) suspension of an Obama administration final rule regulating venting and flaring from oil and natural gas operations on federal and tribal lands.

“We’re pleased the Bureau of Land Management suspended an eleventh-hour Obama-era regulation aimed at shutting in marginal-producing wells, putting independent oil and gas producers, their livelihoods, and the considerable federal royalties generated from their businesses at jeopardy,” said Barry Russell, president and CEO of the Independent Petroleum Association of America. “This action is a good step in providing our member companies some much-needed certainty as they plan their capital expenditure budgets for the upcoming year. It is never the desire of any company to waste a valuable product that could otherwise be brought to market and sold to the American consumers. IPAA welcomes BLM’s efforts and looks forward to working with the agency as they move forward in the rulemaking process to address waste prevention, while safeguarding American jobs and ensuring continued economic growth.”

“We applaud BLM for suspending the venting and flaring rule. It makes no sense for companies to comply with a rule that is being significantly rewritten,” said Kathleen Sgamma, president of Western Energy Alliance. “In suspending the rule, BLM has recognizes that it does not have the statutory authority claimed by the Obama Administration. The notice even quotes the federal judge’s clear statement earlier this year that BLM attempted to usurp the Clean Air Act authority of the states and the Environmental Protection Agency. Despite the suspension, industry will continue the long-term trend of reducing methane emissions by nearly 20% while increasing production of natural gas production over 50%,” added Sgamma.


On November 15, 2016, IPAA and Western Energy Alliance filed a lawsuit challenging the Obama administration’s final rule regulating venting and flaring from oil and natural gas operations on federal and tribal lands. In its claim filed before the U.S. District Court in Wyoming, the trade associations say BLM’s overreaching rule goes beyond legitimate waste prevention and into the realm of air quality control. BLM attempted to grant relief from compliance dates over the summer using Section 705 of the Administrative Procedures Act, but that was challenged in the U.S. District Court for Northern California and overturned in early October. In the meantime, companies have been required to comply with the rule finalized at the very end of the Obama administration. The trade associations filed a preliminary injunction in October seeking relief from the impending compliance dates scheduled to take effect in January 2018.

The oil and natural gas industry recognizes its role in finding solutions to reducing carbon emissions and its continued voluntary efforts have proven highly effective. Federal government data shows methane emissions from oil and natural gas systems have declined 19 percent since 1990 at the same time natural gas production has increased 51 percent and oil production has increased 28 percent.

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.

About Western Energy Alliance
Western Energy Alliance represents over 300 companies engaged in all aspects of environmentally responsible exploration and production of oil and natural gas in the West. Alliance members are independents, the majority of which are small businesses with an average of fifteen employees. Learn more at www.WesternEnergyAlliance.org.

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