Thursday, August 04, 2016

13 states sue EPA over methane-emissions rules

Thirteen states are suing the Obama administration over regulations announced in May by the Environmental Protection Agency to limit methane emissions at oil and natural gas sites, Devin Henry reports for The Hill. Twelve states—Alabama, Arizona, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Montana, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, West Virginia and Wisconsin—joined the lawsuit along with the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet and North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality. North Dakota filed its own suit last month.

New regulations would "require oil and gas companies to plug and capture leaks of methane from new and modified drilling wells and storage tanks, not older, existing wells," Coral Davenport reported in May for The New York Times.

"The EPA rule is part of an Obama administration effort to reduce methane emissions by up to 45 percent by 2025," Henry writes. "The regulation limits leaks or flaring at new or modified drilling wells around the country." West Virginia Republican Attorney General Patrick Morrisey called the new regulations unnecessary and costly. He said in a statement: "The rules are a solution in search of a problem and ignore the industry’s success in voluntarily reducing methane emissions from these sources to a 30-year low."

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