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Arrington leads letter to EPA on postponing emissions guidelines

Arrington speaks during a House Agriculture Committee hearing. (Source: Congressman Jodey...
Arrington speaks during a House Agriculture Committee hearing. (Source: Congressman Jodey Arrington)
Published: Oct. 22, 2021 at 3:01 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Rep. Jodey Arrington is leading an effort to urge the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to postpone updates to the New Source Performance Standards and Emissions Guidelines for the oil and gas industry

Arrington and nine other House members signed the letter addressed to EPA Administrator Michael Regan, asking him to postpone any new regulations until the Department of Energy releases its study on methane emissions from low-producing oil and gas wells. Other signers include Rep. August Pfluger (TX-11), Rep. Ronny Jackson (TX-13), Rep. Roger Williams (TX-25), and Rep. Liz Cheney (WY), according to a news release.

“Approximately 75 percent of the existing oil and natural gas wells in the United States are low producing wells. Any regulatory change will affect the business of thousands of operators, their dependents, as well as state and local revenues that rely on robust energy production,” the signers write. “To ensure the EPA promulgates a rule relating to emissions in good faith, publication must be postponed until the ongoing study is finalized, and the study’s findings must be taken into consideration during the drafting process.”

The Department of Energy study looks to compare methane emissions from marginal, or low-producing, oil and gas wells with non-marginal wells across the United States. Until 2016, the EPA had exempted marginal wells from emission requirements. The Department of Energy said the decision to include marginal wells in the new regulations was “based on limited data” and commissioned the study to collect more data, including field research in the Permian Basin.

The study was scheduled to be completed at the end of Sept. 2021, with public release scheduled for Dec. 2021. The Biden administration has stated they hope to see the new regulations in the next few weeks, but Arrington and the other signers are asking for the findings of the study to be considered in any new regulations.

“Since this study will report on the sources of emissions at low production wells, it should be included in developing any emissions guidelines. Proposing Emissions Guidelines to meet an arbitrary political deadline while disregarding important new scientific information would be inappropriate,” said Lee Fuller of the Independent Petroleum Association of America in a news release.

For more information on the study, visit https://netl.doe.gov/node/9373.

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