Comments to EPA on Delaying Methane Rule
In 2016, EPA issued a rule to decrease methane and volatile organic compound emissions from new, modified, and reconstructed sources in the oil and natural gas sector. EPA has now proposed to suspend some of the rule’s compliance obligations for two years while the agency decides whether and how to revise those requirements.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit rejected an earlier attempt by EPA to stay the methane rule for 90 days, and our comments argue that the new proposal is similarly unlawful. The EPA is required, first, to cite statutory authorization for delaying a rule and, second, to provide a reasoned justification for the delay, and it does neither in this proposal. EPA does not cite any statutory provision that would authorize a two-year stay of the methane rule. It also fails to provide a reasoned explanation for its proposal, because it calculates the compliance costs that would be avoided by staying the rule without also considering the health and environmental benefits that would be forgone.