Litigation Update: EPA’s Methane Rules for Oil and Natural Gas

Nine petitions challenging EPA’s final New Source Performance Standards for the oil and natural gas sector have been filed with the D.C. Circuit (the rule was published in the Federal Register in early June).  EPA’s rule limits certain greenhouse gas, including methane, and volatile organic compound emissions from oil and natural gas operations, such as hydraulically fractured oil wells.  EPA stated that it expects the final rule to reduce 510,000 short tons of methane in 2025, or the equivalent of eleven million metric tons of CO2.

States (Alabama, Arizona, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Montana, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Texas, Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, and North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality) and industry groups have challenged the rule, with North Dakota being the first to file and thus the named petitioner in the consolidated cases.  Other states—California, Connecticut, Illinois, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Massachusetts—and the City of Chicago have filed a motion to intervene in support of EPA, as have several environmental groups.  EPA has filed an unopposed motion to extend certain deadlines, which would push the next big steps in this proceeding, including the submission of dispositive motions, into October.

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