Last week Senator Baucus called on the EPA to extend the comment period on rule changes for oil and gas drilling sites. On Monday the agency complied with the Senator’s request.
The EPA’s proposed New Source Performance Standards and National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants proposes rules that would apply to the more than 25,000 wells that are fractured and re-fractured each year, as well as to storage tanks and other pieces of equipment.
Among the complex rules, EPA is proposing new standards for several processes or pieces of equipment used in oil and gas production that have not previously been subject to federal regulation. These include well completions at new hydraulically fractured natural gas wells and at existing wells that are fractured or “re-fractured.”
The rules would also require what is coined “green completion” that will force the oil and gas companies to purchase new equipment to capture and sell escaping gas and hydrocarbons.
The rules also appear to move some regulatory supervision from state and tribal agencies to the EPA to “To reduce the compliance burden to industry, state and local governments and tribes.”
Several public hearings were held on the rule, none in the Mondak region.
EPA is granting requests for a 30-day extension to the public comment period for the Agency’s proposed standards to reduce air pollution from oil and natural gas drilling operations. The public comment period will now close on November 30, 2011. The standards would rely on cost-effective existing technologies to reduce emissions that contribute to smog pollution and can cause cancer, while supporting the administration’s priority of continuing to expand safe and responsible domestic oil and gas production. The standards would leverage operators’ abilities to capture and sell natural gas that currently escapes into the air, resulting in more efficient operations while reducing harmful emissions that can impact air quality in surrounding areas and nearby states.
In addition, the litigants in the suit have agreed to a 35-day extension of the date for the final rule, which would extend the deadline from February 28, 2012 to April 3, 2012. Once approved, EPA will make the final agreement available on its website.
To comment on the rule visit http://www.regulations.gov and enter Docket ID Number EPA-HQ-OAR-2010-0505 into the search box.
To learn more about the proposed regulations, visit http://www.epa.gov/airquality/oilandgas/actions.html