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EPA Withdraws Controversial Methane Information Collection Request

Effective March 2, 2017, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has withdrawn the information collection request (ICR) entitled, “Information Collection Effort for Oil and Gas Facilities.”  EPA issued the final ICR in November 2016, requiring more than 15,000 owners and operators in the oil and natural gas industry to submit information that would support a future EPA rulemaking to reduce methane emissions from existing sources.  The ICR required companies to provide a significant amount of information in two phases, known as the Part 1 Operator Survey and Part 2 Facility Survey.  EPA has withdrawn both parts of the ICR, which means that owners and operators who received a letter directing them to complete an ICR survey are no longer required to respond.

According to an official withdrawal notice that is expected to be published in the Federal Register on March 7, 2017, “[t]he withdrawal is occurring because EPA would like to assess the need for the information that the agency was collecting through these requests, and reduce burdens on businesses while the Agency assesses such need.”  The notice also indicates that EPA acted in response to a letter from a group of states expressing concern for burdens on businesses.