EPA Puts Off Fracking Air Pollution Rules until AprilOct 27, 2011 | Parker Waichman LLP
It's going to take a month longer than planned for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to finalize new emission rules for hydraulic fracturing operations. The delay was announced yesterday, after the EPA and environmental groups that sued the agency for new fracking air pollution regulations agreed to a 35-day extension, according to a Reuters report.
A court order had mandated that the rules be finalized by February 28, 2012, but now that won't happen until April 3. The EPA also granted a 30-day extension to the public comment period on the standards to November 30 this year, Reuters said.
An agency spokesperson said the extra time was needed to allow the EPA to review comments.
The proposed rules would apply to emissions from more than 11,400 new oil and gas wells that are fracked annually and another 14,000 that are refracked, plus storage tanks and other equipment. The regulations are aimed at reducing emissions of volatile organic compounds by 95 percent from “fracked” wells and 25 percent industrywide.
According to Reuters, the EPA has been under attack by Republican lawmakers who say its proposed regulations will kill jobs. But the agency claims the rules could save the industry $30 million per year because the technology needed for drillers to come into compliance would also allow them to capture and sell gas that would normally go to waste.