Industry Groups Challenge Revisions To EPA Oil, Gas Performance Standards

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By Andrew Childers

March 2 — Oil and natural gas industry groups have filed several lawsuits challenging an Environmental Protection Agency rule amending the new source performance standards for the oil and natural gas sector.

The Independent Petroleum Association of America and other petitioners filed lawsuits Feb. 27 and March 2 in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Those other petitioners are:

• Gas Processors Association, No. 15-1041

• Texas Oil and Gas Association, No. 15-1042

• Western Energy Alliance, No. 15-1043, and

• American Petroleum Institute, No. 15-1044.


Attorneys for the petitioners could not be reached for comment.

The December 2014 EPA rule (RIN 2060-AR75) clarified how well operators should handle gases and liquid during the well completion process, amended performance standards for storage vessels and removed a provision that shielded oil and natural gas facilities from civil penalties for emissions violations that occur as a result of a malfunction. It was issued less than two weeks before a key compliance deadline.

The EPA in 2012 issued new source performance standards for hydraulically fractured wells that required well operators to install controls to reduce emissions of volatile organic compounds.

Industry groups had petitioned the EPA to revise the standards to better align regulatory requirements during flowback with the operational methods and equipment used by industry. The EPA's revisions rule also included several clarifying amendments to the storage vessel provisions of the emissions standards.

To contact the reporter on this story: Andrew Childers in Washington at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Larry Pearl at

The petition for review in Indep. Petroleum Ass'n of Am. v. EPA is available at