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EPA Announces Reconsideration and Stay of Additional Parts of Methane Rule

On May 26, 2017, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a pre-publication notice that announced the reconsideration and a three-month stay to the effectiveness of certain portions of the 2016 rule establishing methane emissions standards for the oil and gas industry (“Methane Rule”). The Methane Rule applies to oil and gas facilities for which construction, modification, or reconstruction started after September 18, 2015. See 40 C.F.R. Part 60, Subpart OOOOa (40 C.F.R. § 60.5360a et seq., adopted at 81 Fed. Reg. 35824 (June 3, 2016)).

The May 26 notice granted reconsideration for two elements of the Methane Rule: (1) the requirement that the design and capacity assessment of a closed vent system used to comply with the rule be performed by a Professional Engineer; and (2) the requirement that the determination that it is technically infeasible to route a pneumatic pump to a control device or process be made and certified by a Professional Engineer. EPA further elected to stay the effectiveness of those requirements for a 90-day period that will start on the date that the notice is published in the Federal Register.

EPA stated that both elements of the rule met the criteria for reconsideration under federal Clean Air Act section 307(d)(7)(B), because the Professional Engineer certification requirements were not proposed for notice and comment, and thus the petitioners seeking reconsideration of these portions of the rule had raised objections that were impracticable to raise during the public comment period.

EPA previously announced that it was reconsidering the Methane Rule’s fugitive emissions monitoring requirements, and issued a 90-day stay of the compliance date for those requirements. The May 26 notice states that, during the reconsideration proceeding, “EPA intends to look broadly at the entire 2016 Rule.”

© 2020 Bracewell LLPNational Law Review, Volume VII, Number 152



About this Author

Whit Swift, Bracewell Law Firm, Environmental Strategies Attorney

Whit advises industrial companies on state and federal air quality permitting and regulations, such as Title V operating permit matters and state and federal new source review permitting. He represents clients in environmental litigation matters and has contested permit matters before the Texas State office of Administrative Hearings.

He has experience assisting major manufacturing, energy, chemical, and petrochemical companies to develop and implement state and federal preconstruction and operating strategies, and provided counsel on compliance...

Christine Wyman, Bracewell Law Firm, Energy and Environment Law Attorney
Senior Counsel

Christine Wyman assists clients in developing policy strategies and implementing them through effective participation in the legislative and regulatory process.  Her work covers a broad range of issues, including energy, environmental, permitting, and pipeline safety.  Her experience includes advocating for energy, oil and gas, and industrial clients before Congress and a variety of federal agencies, including the White House, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Department of Interior, and U.S. Department of...

Brittany M. Pemberton, Attorney, Energy Reg, Bracewell Law Firm

Brittany Pemberton represents clients in energy regulation and policy matters. She focuses on obtaining Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and state authorizations for major projects and transactions as well as federal and state regulatory compliance matters.

While in law school, Brittany worked as a law clerk for the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary’s Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights, the Water Law Office of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of General Counsel, and the Division of Mineral...