On April 18 2017 the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) granted industry requests to reconsider certain aspects of its new source performance standards for the oil and natural gas sector, which were issued as a Clean Air Act final rule in June 2016.

In response to concerns raised in administrative petitions in August 2016, the EPA has stated that it will reconsider:

  • fugitive emissions monitoring requirements;
  • alternative emissions limitations; and
  • coverage of low-production wells.

According to the EPA, these topics concern issues that arose after the comment period or were not included in the proposed new source performance standards.

The EPA also announced that it would grant a 90-day stay of the compliance date for the final rule's fugitive emissions monitoring requirements. The final rule set emission standards for methane at certain new and modified upstream and midstream oil and gas sources, and would require owners and operators of certain sources to implement a leak detection programme to identify and repair fugitive emission leaks, among other requirements.

Separately, the EPA has asked the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to hold litigation concerning the final rule in abeyance while it re-evaluates the final rule.

For further information on this topic please contact Samuel Boxerman, Joel Visser or Jim Wedeking at Sidley Austin LLP by telephone (+1 202 736 8000) or email ([email protected], [email protected] or [email protected]). The Sidley Austin LLP website can be accessed at www.sidley.com.