On March 1, 2018, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (“EPA”) Administrator, E. Scott Pruitt, signed a notice seeking public comment on the proposed withdrawal of the control techniques guidelines (“CTG”) for the oil and natural gas industry. The oil and natural gas CTGs make recommendations for reducing volatile organic compound emissions from oil and natural gas equipment and processes in ozone nonattainment areas classified as Moderate or higher and states in the Ozone Transport Region by addressing reasonably available control technology review requirements in their state implementation plans.
The EPA is currently reconsidering and taking a “broad look” at certain requirements under the 2016 New Source Performance Standards (“NSPS”) for the oil and natural gas sector (quad Oa). Specifically, on June 16, 2017, the EPA published a propose rule that would stay the fugitive emission requirements, well site pneumatic pump standards, and the requirements for closed vent systems certification by a professional engineer while the agency reconsiders them. This stay was intended to follow its June 5, 2017 notice staying those requirements for three months, which was vacated by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. Because the oil and natural gas CTGs relied on data and conclusions used in the 2016 NSPS for the oil and gas industry, EPA believes that they should be withdrawn. The comment period on the propose withdrawal will be open for 45 days after it is published in the Federal register.