An Information Collection Request (ICR) that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued November 10, seeking information on how to best reduce methane and other harmful emissions from existing sources in the oil and natural gas industry, has been withdrawn by the agency. The ICR asked 15,000 owners and operators in the oil and gas industry for 1) basic information on the numbers and types of equipment at all onshore facilities and 2) for detailed information on sources of methane emissions and emission control devices or practices currently in use. The March 2 withdrawal notice is effective immediately.
The EPA action follows a March 1 letter to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt from several state Attorneys Generals and Governors objecting to the ICR, calling it “harassment” and stating that they opposed the rule as “an unnecessary and onerous burden on oil and gas producers.” The information request has also been challenged in court.
The withdrawal follows by two weeks the release of a report from Oil Change International warning of the serious consequences of increased methane emissions to climate change should the Mountain Valley Pipeline and Atlantic Coast Pipeline be built (see ABRA Update 117). In announcing the withdrawal, Administrator Pruitt said: “Today’s action will reduce burdens on businesses while we take a closer look at the need for additional information from this industry.”