U.S. Department of Interior delays methane pollution rule.

June 30, 2017

The U.S. Interior Department has delayed implementation of a rule limiting methane waste at oil and natural gas drilling sites.

In a June 15, 2017 Federal Register notice Interior’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) said it would look to postpone the compliance dates for several parts of the Obama-era rule. The rule aims to reduce leaks of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, at drilling sites on federal land.

Drillers are required to come into compliance with the rule beginning on Jan. 17, 2018. But several industry groups have sued over the regulation, and President Trump has ordered Interior to reconsider the measure.

BLM said in its Register notice that it would postpone the compliance dates “in light of the regulatory uncertainty created by the pending litigation and the ongoing administrative review.”

“Given this legal uncertainty, operators should not be required to expend substantial time and resources to comply with regulatory requirements that may prove short-lived as a result of pending litigation or the administrative review that is already under way,” the agency wrote in its notice.

The notice says the agency will look to suspend the rule’s provisions that set limits on venting and flaring at drilling sites, require drillers to establish “waste minimization plans,” and define pollution that comes from oil and gas operations.

What this means to you
The U.S. Department of the Interior has delayed implementation of a rule limiting methane waste at oil and natural gas drilling sites “in light of pending litigation and judicial review.”

MIRATECH can help
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