Two and a half years after being sued, EPA is under a twice-extended court deadline to release by July 28, 2011, proposed standards addressing toxic emissions from oil and gas facilities. The court has ordered that standards be finalized by Feb. 28, 2012.
The proposed standards will address air toxics from oil production facilities and natural gas production, processing, transmission, and storage facilities. The regulatory mechanisms through which EPA is developing these standards include new source performance standards, national emission standards for hazardous air pollutants, and control techniques.
The new standards will replace and expand upon those developed in 1999 and 1985. Many emission pathways now known to be significant weren't even covered then. The standards are supposed to be updated every 8 years, but EPA's failure to do so sparked WildEarth Guardians and San Juan Citizens Alliance to sue.
When released, the proposed standards should be available at:
One of the primary forces driving major interest in this topic is gas drilling in shale zones. A map of those areas is at:
- Review of Federal Air Regulations for the Oil and Natural Gas Sector, Public Stakeholder Meetings, Aug. 2-3, 2010 (page 4).
Among sources for comment after the standards come out are:
- American Gas Association.
- American Petroleum Institute: Howard Feldman, 202-682-8340.
- WildEarth Guardians: Jeremy Nichols, 303-573-4898 x1303; press release of Dec. 8, 2009.
- San Juan Citizens Alliance: Mike Eisenfeld, 505-325-6724.
- Earthjustice (represented WildEarth Guardians and San Juan Citizens Alliance in legal proceedings): Robin Cooley, 303-623-9466 x611.
For local reporting, there will be companies and environmental groups unique to each area.