Yesterday, the EPA withdrew its request seeking data from the oil and gas industry on methane emissions from existing oil and gas operations, effective March 2, 2017. The 2016 information collection request (ICR) required more than 15,000 owners and operators to provide detailed information about types of equipment, methane sources and emission control devices or practices at oil and gas facilities in the United States. In a brief notice, EPA stated its desire to assess the need for the information targeted by the ICR and reduce burdens on businesses while assessing that need. EPA also highlighted the receipt of a letter from nine state Attorneys General and the Governors of Mississippi and Kentucky expressing their concerns with the burdens imposed on businesses by the ICR.
The 2016 ICR was seen by some as the first step in developing methane standards for existing sources in the oil and gas industry. By withdrawing the ICR, Administrator Pruitt has effectively halted this process, one of the first of several potential efforts to ease regulatory burdens imposed on the energy industry by the previous administration.
A copy of the pre-publication withdrawal notice is available here. For more information on the ICR withdrawal and potential impacts on the oil and gas industry, please contact Margaret Campbell, Angela Levin, Mack McGuffey or Andy Flavin.