MADIGAN OPPOSES EPA’S PROPOSED ILLEGAL DELAY OF RULE LIMITING METHANE EMISSIONS
Madigan & Coalition Say Rule Prevents Greenhouse Gas Emissions from New Sources in Oil & Gas Sector
Chicago — Attorney General Lisa Madigan today joined with 13 other attorneys general, the state of Colorado, and the city of Chicago to submit comments in opposition to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed 27-month compliance delay of an important public health rule designed to limit new sources of methane emissions by encouraging the use of emerging technology to reduce emissions of the powerful greenhouse gas.
The rule on new sources of methane is expected to prevent 300,000 tons of methane emissions in 2020 and 510,000 tons of methane emissions by 2025. The controls required by the rule are also expected to reduce emissions of other pollutants, including volatile organic compounds and hazardous air pollutants. Before putting the rule in place, the EPA analyzed the costs and benefits of the rule, including the revenues from recovered natural gas that would otherwise be vented, and determined that the rule would result in a net benefit estimated at $35 million in 2020 and $170 million in 2025.
In the comments, Madigan and the coalition point out that the EPA’s delay of the rule is unlawful for three reasons: It exceeds the EPA’s statutory authority under the Clean Air Act; it is arbitrary and capricious; and EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s involvement in the delay is improper because it would achieve the result he sought in his lawsuit challenging the rule when he was the Oklahoma Attorney General.
“The U.S. EPA should immediately reverse course and do its job to eliminate dangerous toxic pollutants from our air,” Madigan said. “Methane pollution is a proven contributor to climate change, and I will continue to fight delays and decisions by the EPA that put the public and our environment at risk.”
Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas, warming the climate about 34 times more potently than carbon dioxide over a 100-year period. The oil and natural gas sector is the largest industrial source of methane emissions and accounts for one-third of total methane emissions in the U.S.
The rule on new sources of methane became effective on August 2, 2016. Shortly after it became effective, the rule was challenged in court by several industry groups. Several states, including Illinois, led by Attorney General Madigan, intervened in the case to defend the rule. On June 5, 2017, President Donald Trump’s EPA issued its first three-month delay of the methane new source rule without giving notice or taking comments, arguing that the industry’s challenges raised new issues that were not addressed during the rulemaking process. The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals promptly found that the delay was unlawful and terminated it. On June 16, 2017, the EPA published for notice and comment two additional proposed delays, totaling 27 months.
Joining Madigan in submitting the comments were the attorneys general of California, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and the District of Columbia. The State of Colorado and the City of Chicago also joined in submitting the comments. A copy of the comments can be found here.