Home | Perspectives |Shale Energy Law Blog | EPA Releases Key Methane Reduction Measures and Final Source Aggregation Rule
Print Friendly, PDF & Email
EPA Releases Key Methane Reduction Measures and Final Source Aggregation Rule

Today the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the availability of several highly-anticipated regulatory measures affecting both existing and new emission sources in the oil and natural gas sector.  EPA has released the pre-publication version of its final New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) rulemaking to reduce emissions of methane and volatile organic compounds from new, modified, and reconstructed sources.  The agency received more than 900,000 public comments on the proposed NSPS rulemaking that was released in August 2015.

In March, EPA announced its intent to also regulate methane emissions from existing sources in the oil and natural gas sector.  Today EPA issued a draft Information Collection Request (ICR) directing oil and natural gas companies to submit extensive information to support the development of a federal rule targeting existing sources.  Public comments will be accepted for 60 days following publication of the draft ICR in the Federal Register.  As a related measure, EPA will soon release a voluntary “Request for Information” inviting industry, government, and public interest stakeholders “to provide information on innovative strategies to accurately and cost-effectively locate, measure and mitigate methane emissions.”

Additionally, today EPA released the pre-publication version of its final Source Determination Rule aimed at clarifying the term “adjacent” for air permitting purposes.   The final rule is intended to clarify when oil and gas equipment and activities constitute a single source that is subject to “major source” permitting requirements under the Clean Air Act.  In general, according to EPA’s fact sheet, the final rule provides that pollutant-emitting activities are adjacent “if they are located on the same site or on sites that share equipment and are within 1/4 mile of each other.”

Finally, EPA also released the pre-publication version of a final Federal Implementation Plan rule to clarify air permitting requirements for oil and natural gas sources located in Indian Country, specifically.