EPA’s Methane Emission Proposal Fuels Oil And Gas Uncertainty

Not all in the industry are in favor of the Trump administration’s rollback, and the expected litigation will put operators into limbo again.

epa building

Headquarters of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in Washington, D.C. (Source: Shutterstock)

The lack of regulatory certainty that bedeviled the oil and gas industry during the Obama administration continues in the Trump administration in the area of methane emissions, though taking a different path—now the rules that were put into effect are being rolled back.

If the rollback of methane emission limits in the 2016 New Source Performance Standards (NSPS), announced by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in late August, appears to immediately simplify regulatory compliance, well, not so much. The proposal is subject to public comment for 60 days following publication, and when it likely goes into effect, a slew of opponents will almost certainly sue EPA to rescind the rule.

Then there is the intra-family feud in the oil and gas industry over the latest action.

“There are folks within the oil and gas industry on both sides of the fence on this particular rulemaking,” Ben Rhem, Austin, Texas-based partner with Jackson Walker, told HartEnergy.com. “There are some that just want to move forward with the rules as they are and not make those changes. There are others that think that the methane emissions requirements are burdensome and intrusive.”

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Joseph Markman

Joseph Markman, senior editor for Hart Energy, covers markets and provides data analysis for all Hart Energy editorial products.