Red states lose bid to pause EPA oil, gas methane rules

DC Circuit denies stay of EPA methane restrictions

The rule limits routine flaring of methane and creates a new program for "super emitters."

Alexandra Jones / July 9, 2024

WASHINGTON (CN) —  A D.C. Circuit panel on Tuesday rejected a bid by a group of 24 Republican attorneys general to pause a new Environmental Protection Agency rule designed to reduce methane emissions from players in the oil and gas industry as they appeal the government’s move in court.

The new requirements under the Clean Air Act ask oil and gas producers to more strictly monitor their methane emissions — limiting routine flaring and creating a new program for “super emitters,” or large emission occurrences. It also asks that the industry update its equipment to better detect methane leaks from existing sources. New oil and gas companies will be subject to tighter restrictions.

Rosalie Winn, the director and lead counsel for the Environmental Defense Fund, applauded the refusal to stay, saying it would have allowed more methane pollution into the air during litigation. The environmental advocacy group is backing the EPA in the appeal. 

“EPA’s commonsense oil and gas methane protections deliver vital reductions in climate and health-harming pollution,” Winn said in a statement, calling the suit a “meritless legal attack.”

“The court’s decision today ensures that the safeguards will begin to deliver benefits to communities that have long been overburdened by oil and gas pollution,” Winn said.

Methane leaks have been said to be the largest source of toxic emissions that contribute to ground level ozone that causes smog and asthma as well as climate change, with more than 80 times the warming capacity of carbon dioxide.

Published in the Federal Register on March 8, the requirements went into effect on May 7 and states have two years to implement the new measures.

The coalition of two dozen states, led by Oklahoma, initially filed suit on March 15 claiming the EPA had imposed “onerous new requirements.”

In a press release accompanying the suit, Oklahoma Attorney General Gentner Drummond called the rule a “a blatant attack on America’s oil and gas industry.” 

“If allowed to take full effect, the rule would cost Oklahoma countless jobs, devastate the oil and gas industry, and force us to pay significantly higher energy prices,” Drummond said. 

“The rule will impose millions of dollars of costs on the States, and those costs are starting to tally up right now. Yet the rule is legally unsound. It unlawfully deprives States of the discretion that Congress granted them. And it holds the states to a two-year deadline that will prove impossible to meet,” the states say in the lawsuit.

U.S. Circuit Judges Gregory Katsas, Neomi Rao, and Michelle Childs of the D.C. Circuit — two Donald Trump appointees and a Biden appointee, respectively — denied the request for a stay Tuesday.

States joining Oklahoma in the suit include: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia and Wyoming. Republican Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a separate legal challenge in the D.C. Circuit that has been consolidated with the other states' challenge.

 

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I’m confused.  The writer says, twice, that the EPA is “asking” oil and gas companies to take certain actions.  ASKS?  If it is merely asking, then the companies can “just say No”.   What professional writer would use the term “ask” instead of “require”?  She then goes on to say “New oil and gas companies will be subject to ….”. New oil and gas companies?  Old, or existing companies won’t be subject to the new restrictions?

Please!

Steve, I feel sure a quick google search would find other articles on the same subject.  They may be written better.  This is a topic of interest and I posted the one article that popped up through my alerts that day.

You may find this one a little more clear.

Republican States Lose Motion to Stay New Methane Emissions Rules

By Tsvetana Paraskova - Jul 10, 2024  oilprice.com

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit has denied a request from Republican states to stay the new rules on methane emissions from the oil and gas industry while the red states fight the new regulations in court.

The court on Tuesday didn’t grant the Republican states’ motion to stay as the petitioners did not meet the rules for a stay of the new regulations.

In March, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a final rule to strengthen, expand, and update methane emissions reporting requirements for petroleum and natural gas systems.

Texas and other two dozen Republican states have since March sued the U.S. Administration to prevent an expansion of authority by the EPA by means of a rule aimed at regulating methane and other emissions from sources in the oil and natural gas industry.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton argued that the rule usurps the states’ role in establishing emissions standards for existing sources and establishes new guidelines that mirror the Federal standards for new sources.

“The EPA is once again trying to seize regulatory authority that Congress has not granted,” said Attorney General Paxton. “I am challenging this blatant overreach by the Biden Administration and will continue to defend vital sectors of the Texas economy.”

Oklahoma Attorney General Gentner Drummond, leading a group of 24 state attorneys general, also challenged the rule in court in March, saying that “The Biden Administration’s methane emissions rule is a blatant attack on America’s oil and gas industry.”

These states filed in April a motion to stay the rule while the court battles are ongoing.

The petitioners argued in the request that “Without a stay, the States will suffer several forms of irreparable harm,” including unrecoverable economic harm. Beyond direct compliance costs, the rule imposes other costs, and some entities operating regulated facilities are anticipated to close because of the rule’s additional burdens, the petitioners had argued.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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