The U.S. Environment Protection Agency (EPA) plans to extend a 90-day extension on the implementation of Obama-era methane rules for the oil and gas industry.
The agency announced the initial three-month suspension of the rules in March. Under the new proposal, the 2016 New Source Performance Standards would be delayed for two years. The regulations would oblige companies to solve leaking emissions, seek engineer certifications, and install devices for faster detection of leaks.
Sign of Relief
If approved, the proposal would not require oil and gas companies to comply with the rules for their fleet of equipment, including an above ground steel tank, while the reprieve is in effect. The EPA will use the time to reconsider any issues related to the regulations’ conditions and their impact on the energy industry.
Oil and gas companies would also save around $173 million from the proposed delay of the methane rules. The proposal symbolized EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s promise to oil and gas groups. Pruitt previously wrote to the industry and stated that the EPA will use its power under the Clean Air Act to delay the rules.
Environmental groups criticized the proposed delay, saying that it puts the health and safety of the public at a greater risk. Peter Zalzal, Environmental Defense Fund’s lead attorney, believes that the two-year postponement of the rules would lead to a larger volume of methane and benzene released in the atmosphere.
The Obama administration launched the New Source Performance Standards to control and limit the release of methane, which is 25 times more likely to contribute to global warming than carbon dioxide. The proposal to delay the methane rules may signify a win for the oil and gas sector. Are you in favor for the delay of the regulations?