Firms Fear Proposed Waste Rule Would Duplicate Existing Regs

February 6, 2023 by Dan McCue
Firms Fear Proposed Waste Rule Would Duplicate Existing Regs
(Photo by JP26JP via Pixabay)

WASHINGTON — Several oil and gas associations have written the Bureau of Land Management saying a proposed rule on waste prevention would duplicate regulatory efforts already being undertaken by other federal agencies.

The concern was voiced in comments submitted on the BLM’s pending proposed rule on Waste Prevention, Production Subject to Royalties and Resource Conservation.

They were submitted by the American Petroleum Institute, the American Exploration and Production Council, the Alaska Oil & Gas Association, the Montana Petroleum Association, the Petroleum Alliance of Oklahoma, the New Mexico Oil & Gas Association and the North Dakota Petroleum Council.

In the comments, the associations reiterated the U.S. natural gas and oil industry’s commitment to working with BLM toward a safe, practical and effective rule within the boundaries of BLM’s waste prevention authority.

They also commended BLM for its streamlined approach to the proposed rulemaking and for providing flexibility with leak detection and repair efforts, which allows for continued development of innovative technology to better detect and reduce methane emissions.

However, the 97-page letter also raised concerns with several legal and practical aspects of the proposed rule, including duplication of regulatory efforts already being undertaken by other federal agencies.

“The U.S. natural gas and oil industry is working to meet growing energy demand with the responsible development of federal lands and remains committed to advancing the development, testing and utilization of new technologies and operational practices to better understand, detect and further mitigate emissions of natural gas during oil and gas exploration and production activities,” said Cole Ramsey, API vice president of Upstream Policy, in a written statement. 

“We look forward to working with BLM on a final rule that satisfies its waste prevention obligations while recognizing the technical innovations and steps our industry has taken, and other agencies are undertaking, to address methane emissions.”

In the comments, the associations provided a series of recommendations that would minimize duplication of existing regulatory efforts from other federal agencies with the goal of reaching a final rule that is legally sound, provides regulatory certainty, builds on the progress industry has already made in reducing methane emissions and does not deter continued investment and innovation in the onshore oil and natural gas program.  

“A strong onshore program is essential for ensuring greater energy security for the U.S., and our ability to help our allies globally,” said Ramsey. “We encourage BLM to support U.S. energy security and finalize a rule that is legally sound, affords appropriate flexibility, provides regulatory certainty, and supports a robust onshore oil and gas program.”

API represents all segments of America’s natural gas and oil industry, which supports more than 11 million U.S. jobs and is backed by a growing grassroots movement of millions of Americans. Its roughly 600 members produce, process and distribute the majority of the nation’s energy and participate in API Energy Excellence, which is accelerating environmental and safety progress by fostering new technologies and transparent reporting. API was formed in 1919 as a standards-setting organization and has developed more than 800 standards to enhance operational and environmental safety, efficiency and sustainability.

Dan can be reached at [email protected] and @DanMcCue

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  • Bureau of Land Management
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