American Oil and Gas Reporter - August 2017 - 32

Flaring Rule Lawsuit
BLM announced June 15 that it was
postponing compliance requirements indefinitely for key parts of its venting and
flaring regulations (AOGR, July 2017, pg.
30). The Waste Prevention, Production
Subject to Royalties and Resource Conservation Rule was finalized in November
2016 and immediately challenged by IPAA,
the Western Energy Alliance and several
states (AOGR, December 2016, pg. 32).
In its announcement, BLM acknowledged that the lawsuits "raised serious
questions concerning the validity of certain

provisions," and reasoned that "operators
should not be required to expend substantial
time and resources to comply with regulatory
requirements that may prove short lived."
On July 10, the attorneys general for
California and New Mexico, as well as
17 environmental organizations led by
the Sierra Club, Center for Biological
Diversity and the Environmental Defense
Fund, filed separate lawsuits against the
stay in the U.S. District Court for the
Northern District of California.
The environmental group's lawsuit,
Sierra Club et al v. Zinke et al, contends

the stay contradicts the plain language of
Section 705 of the Administrative Procedure Act, "which only allows agencies
to 'postpone the effective date' of a regulation, not stay a rule already in effect."
The lawsuit also contends the stay
failed to provide an opportunity for public
comment as required in APA ยง 553. The
plaintiffs in Sierra Club also argue that
BLM did not evaluate whether its flaring
rule violated the law, whether industry
would suffer irreparable harm absent a
stay, or whether a stay was in the public
interest.
r

U.S. House Moves Pipeline, Ozone Bills
WASHINGTON-The U.S. House of
Representatives in July passed a pair of
bills intended to speed construction of
interstate and cross-border pipelines, and
also moved to delay implementation of
stricter ozone standards put in place by
the Environmental Protection Agency in
2015.
On July 18, the House passed HR
2910, the Promoting Interagency Coordination for Review of Natural Gas
Pipelines Act, which places the Federal
Energy Regulatory Commission in charge
of environmental reviews for interstate
gas pipelines, according to reports.
The next day, representatives voted
254-175 for HR 2883, the Promoting
Cross-Border Energy Infrastructure Act,
which eliminates the requirements for a
cross-border pipeline to obtain a presidential permit, and makes FERC the lead
agency in authorizing such infrastructure.
HR 806, the Ozone Standards Implementation Act, passed the House 229199 on July 18. It gives states until 2026
to determine what areas meet the 70 parts
per billion ozone standard adopted by
EPA in 2015, according to the Independent
Petroleum Association of America.

Infrastructure Legislation
HR 2910, which passed 248-179,
"would strengthen the role of FERC as
the lead agency under the National Environmental Policy Act for jurisdictional
natural gas projects," the National Ocean
Industries Association points out in a
letter it-along with 24 other oil and gas,
midstream, and construction trades organizations-sent to House Speaker Paul
Ryan, R-Wi., and Minority Leader Nancy
Pelosi, D-Ca..
"The bill also would encourage concurrent review of permit applications by
the multiple federal and state agencies
32 THE AMERICAN OIL & GAS REPORTER

involved in reviewing projects . . . and
incentivize the development of a single
and more fulsome NEPA analysis," the
letter adds.
According to published reports, the
bill also gives FERC more power to set
deadlines among federal and state agencies
that permit natural gas pipelines, and
would require FERC to consider data
from aerial surveys when permitting
pipelines, thereby potentially avoiding
the need to obtain permission from
landowners for ground surveys.
The Promoting Cross-Border Energy
Infrastructure Act "takes the politics out
of energy infrastructure and delivers regulatory certainty and transparency for the
construction of energy projects that cross
our North American borders," states Representative Markwayne Mullin, R-Ok.,
who sponsored HR 2883 along with Congressman Gene Green, D-Tx.
In addition to eliminating the need
for a presidential permit and making
FERC the lead agency in approving crossborder energy projects, the bill requires
FERC to issue a "certificate of crossing"
within 120 days after its NEPA review
has been finalized, according to a summary
posted on congress.gov.
HR 2883 says that modifying an existing facility does not require a certificate
of crossing, and amends the Natural Gas
Act to require FERC to process within
30 days any application to import or
export natural gas to or from Canada or
Mexico, the summary states.
Ozone NAAQS
IPAA says HR 806, the Ozone Standards Implementation Act, which passed
the House on July 18, gives states until
2026 to determine nonattainment areas
under the 70 ppb National Ambient Air
Quality Standard for ground-level ozone
established by EPA in October 2015. It

also changes the mandatory review of
NAAQS from five to 10 years, although
the EPA administrator has the discretion
to issue revised standards earlier, the association adds.
Like HR 4775, the Ozone Standards
Implementation Act passed by the U.S.
House in June 2016 (AOGR, July 2016,
pg. 43), HR 806 also instructs EPA to
consider technological feasibility when
revising NAAQS, and to obtain the advice
of its scientific advisory committee regarding potential adverse impacts, according to a summary of the bill provided
by the House Energy and Commerce
Committee.
Among other provisions of the bill,
according to the summary:
* EPA must issue timely implementation regulations and guidance when revising NAAQS.
* It must ensure states are not required
to include economically infeasible measures in their plans for certain ozone and
particulate matter nonattainment areas.
* The agency must submit reports to
Congress regarding the impacts of foreign
emissions on NAAQS compliance.
A letter to House and Senate leadership
signed by IPAA and the American Petroleum Institute notes that although EPA
had not revised its ozone NAAQS since
2008 (prior to October 2015), it did not
issue final guidance to states on how to
implement the 2008 standards until March
2015, thereby forcing states to implement
multiple standards simultaneously.
The letter also says data indicate the
70 ppb standard could expand nonattainment to more than 950 counties across
the country.
Adds API Senior Director of Regulatory & Scientific Affairs Howard Feldman,
"The latest ozone standards, which approach background levels in many areas,
could place even rural, undeveloped areas


http://www.congress.gov

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of American Oil and Gas Reporter - August 2017

Contents
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