Trump administration announces plan to weaken Obama-era methane testing rule
©Wikimedia (U.S. Geological Survey)

Trump administration announces plan to weaken Obama-era methane testing rule

US President Donald Trump and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Tuesday announced [official website] a plan [text, PDF] to amend the 2016 New Source Performance Standards for the oil and gas industry that would weaken requirements for testing and monitoring methane gas emissions.

In March the EPA announced two amendments addressing the “fugitive emissions” requirements of the Emission Standards for New, Reconstructed, and Modified Sources, which address required monitoring of the emissions. In the proposal for reconsideration, the EPA seeks to reduce monitoring of the larger sites in the Alaskan North Slope from semi-annual to annual, and to change monitoring frequency “at low production well sites (well sites with less than 15 barrels of oil equivalent (BOE) per well per day)” from semi-annual to biennial (every other year).

According to the press release, the proposed regulation will “streamline implementation, reduce duplicative EPA and state requirements, and significantly decrease unnecessary burdens on domestic energy producers.” The regulation is estimated to save “approximately $484 million in regulatory costs from 2019 – 2025 or $75 million annually.”