EPA drills down on oil and natural gas air pollution
Posted December 15, 2023
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a final rule under the Clean Air Act to reduce the emissions of methane, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and sulfur dioxide (SO2) from oil and natural gas operations.
Two major actions of the rule include:
- Establishing New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) for new oil and natural gas facilities; and
- Finalizing the first nationwide emission guidelines that set procedures for states to follow to develop plans that limit methane pollution from existing oil and natural gas facilities.
Revisions to the NSPS
The final rule expands the current requirements for methane, VOC, and SO2 emissions from new oil and natural gas facilities. New facilities include those constructed, reconstructed, or modified after December 6, 2022. EPA added the Subpart OOOOb of 40 CFR Part 60 to regulate new facilities.
New emission guidelines for existing sources
EPA is finalizing emission guidelines that states will use to develop, submit, and implement state plans that establish performance standards for methane emissions from existing oil and gas facilities constructed, reconstructed, or modified on or before December 6, 2022. EPA added Subpart OOOOc to contain the guidelines.
Note that Subpart OOOO regulates sources constructed after August 23, 2011, and on or before September 18, 2015, while Subpart OOOOa regulates sources constructed after September 18, 2015, and on or before December 6, 2022.
The new regulations will be phased in to give the oil and natural gas industry time to comply. Additionally, states will have two years from the date the final rule is published in the Federal Register to submit their plans to EPA, and existing oil and natural gas facilities will have three years from the deadline for plan submission to comply with state plans.
This article was written by Adriana Lucus of J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc.