The rule, which came into effect in January, covered drilling on federal and Native American lands, and was to be fully operational by Jan. 17, 2018. The rule forces energy companies to capture methane that's burnt off or "flared" at drilling sites on public lands during production because it pollutes the environment. An estimated $330 million a year in methane is wasted through leaks or intentional releases on federal lands, enough to power about 5 million homes a year.
(Source: BLM, Kallanish Energy, 11 Dec., 2017) Contact: Bureau of Land Management, www.blm.gov
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The order comes as the Department of Interior (DoI) is moving to delay the rule until 2019, on the grounds that it is too burdensome to industry. The DoI tried earlier to postpone part of the rule set to take effect next year. The ruling found the DoI failed to give a "reasoned explanation" for the changes and offered no details on why an earlier analysis by the Obama administration was faulty.
The rule forces energy companies to capture methane that's burnt off or "flared" at drilling sites on public lands during production because it pollutes the environment. An estimated $330 million a year in methane is wasted through leaks or intentional releases on federal lands, enough to power about 5 million homes a year.
(Source: DoI, Various Media, 4 Oct., 2017)
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In June, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt sought a two-year pause on the new methane rule so the agency could "look broadly" at regulations and "review their impact" with the end view of abolishing the Obama era legislation.
"Today's issuance of the mandate by the full D.C. Circuit protects families and communities across America under clean air safeguards that EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt sought to unlawfully tear down," said Peter Zalzal, lead attorney for the Environmental Defense Fund, one of the groups that challenged the EPA.
(Source: Newsmax, EDF, Various Others, , EPA, 1 Aug., 2017)
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EPA administrator Pruitt, a noted climate change skeptic, had imposed a 90-day moratorium, which he later extended to two years, on enforcement of parts of the Obama era methane regulation and argued that his action was not subject to court review. But the appeals court disagreed and ruled that the EPA's decision was "unreasonable, arbitrary and capricious." The court ruled that the agency lacked authority under the Clean Air Act to block the methane rule but did have authority to reverse the methane regulations. The court also ruled that the agency would have to undertake a new rule-making process to undo the Obama regulation.
(Source: Various Media, NY Times, 3 July, 2017)
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The methane rule, which was finalized in the dying days of the Obama administration, mandates that energy companies capture rather than flare methane which is about 25 times more potent at trapping heat than CO2 and make up approximately 9 pct of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, according to EPA estimates.
(Source: Smart Brief, AP, 21 June, 2017)
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Consistent with President Trump's Energy Independence Executive Order, EPA will continue to review these actions to ensure that they protect the environment and enable a growing economy.
Municipal solid waste landfills receive non-hazardous waste and under updated rules are required to install and operate landfill gas collection systems that monitor landfill gas/methane emissions.
The Bureau of Land Management rule for methane is considered duplicative due to an existing EPA rule requiring drillers to control their methane emissions from natural gas and oil wells.
(Source: PBS, Inside EPA, 10 May, 2017)
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