DC Circuit Won’t Block EPA Methane Rule

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DC Circuit Wont Block EPA Methane Rule

The D.C. Circuit has rejected attempts by states and industry groups to halt the implementation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s final rule on expanded methane emissions control for oil and gas infrastructure.

States’ and Industry Groups’ Challenge

In mid-April, 24 states led by Oklahoma and West Virginia, along with the Arizona state Legislature, filed a motion for a stay, arguing that the rule “unlawfully deprives states of the discretion that Congress granted them” and imposes millions of dollars in costs. The oil and gas industry groups, including the Michigan Oil and Gas Association and the Independent Petroleum Association of America, also sought to block the EPA’s expanded methane emissions control requirements, claiming the rule’s effects on owners of low-producing oil and gas wells were not adequately considered.

DC Circuit Won’t Block EPA Methane Rule : Court’s Decision

In a one-page order filed Tuesday, the panel found that the petitioners did not meet the stringent requirements for a stay pending court review, providing no further explanation for its decision.

DC Circuit Won’t Block EPA Methane Rule : EPA’s Methane Rule

The EPA finalized the challenged rule in late November, establishing a comprehensive scheme to reduce methane emissions and volatile organic compounds pollution. The rule covers existing and new oil and gas sources, increases monitoring to identify “super-emitters” for prompt mitigation, and strengthens flare operation requirements.

EPA and Environmental Groups’ Response

In response to the petitioners’ claims, the EPA argued in mid-June that it thoroughly weighed the advantages and disadvantages of the regulation, including costs and benefits. The agency stated that the rule’s costs were reasonable “both in absolute terms and relative to massive projected emission reductions.” The EPA also addressed concerns about marginal wells, which produce no more than 15 barrels of oil equivalent per day but contribute significantly to sector methane emissions. The EPA determined there was no basis for special treatment for these wells.