Industry wants a time out on new drilling, production air regs

The oil and gas industry needs more time to review and comment on proposed EPA rules aimed at cutting air pollution from drilling and production activities, American Petroleum Institute officials said this morning in advance of public hearings scheduled this week.

The proposed rules would set new performance standards for the release of a key component of smog and sulfur dioxide from drilling and production activities, and it would set new air toxics standards for oil and natural gas production and natural gas transmission and storage.

The EPA released the proposed rules in late July and will hold public hearings this week in Denver, Colo., Arlington, Tex. and Pittsburgh, Pa.

In a call with reporters today, API director of regulatory and scientific affairs Howard Feldman claims the industry doesn’t oppose the rules that aims to ”help manage” emissions.

“But we are concerned that, unless properly crafted, they could hamper our ability to meet the nation’s energy needs,” Feldman said. “As EPA’s proposal stands today, we have questions about whether we’re going to get workable, practical rules that do not obstruct development.”

API is calling for another 60 days of public comment (under the current timeline, public comments would end around Oct. 31), and even further delay of implementation, particularly since some of the rules will require expanded use of certain equipment meant to burn off some emissions. The equipment, known as tank combustors, are already in use, but Feldman said the companies need more time to ramp up production of more units.

API is also asking the EPA to delay plans to implement new emissions rules that could impact refinery operations. The EPA has just started to receive new emissions data from August and September that were required under a new reporting rule, but the API believes more times is needed to review the data.

“The refinery rule is currently scheduled to be proposed just over one month after EPA finishes collecting emissions data from oil and natural gas companies,” said Khary Cauthen, API’s federal relations director. “More time is needed to review this information. And the agency has yet to make a strong case that additional sulfur reductions will produce environmental improvements worth their costs.”

API member companies have been “educating” their employees on the propsed rules in advance of the public hearings, Cauthen said. It’s expected employees from many of the companies will be well represented at the hearings.

Here’s a slide show from the EPA explaining the proposed rules. Here’s a list of speakers now scheduled for the Sept. 27 hearing in Pittsburgh, Wednesday’s hearing in Denver, and speakers at the Arlington hearing scheduled for Thursday.

2 Comments

  1. David Gower

    With our recent experience with the EPA ambushing Texas’s electric generators, Why don’t we stop all new EPA rules for the next few years so we can catch up. Sort of like Nancy Pelosi, let us read it and think about it so we can understand it and comment if needed. How many jobs would be created with a moratorium on new EPA rules?

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  2. Tim Ruggiero

    The Industry wants a ‘timeout’ and they deserve to have one. So stop frackin’ for a year and let’s think this through. The two regulatory agencies in Texas- the Railroad Commission and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality have nether the desire or the the authority or the resources to regulate much of anything the Industry does. I hate the fact that the EPA-i.e. the Fed-is getting involved in State’s affairs, but if the State refuses to regulate and enforce basic laws, then what is the alternative? Not to mention the money and resources the State, the TRRC and TCEQ will be throwing at this to fight the EPA. Either we should get out of the way of the EPA-and shut down both the TRRC and TCEQ to save taxpayer’s money or the TCEQ and TRRC need to start doing their job.

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