The 2012 emission standards (“ESs”) applicable to the oil and gas industry will not be reopened by the U.S. EPA despite requests by the American Petroleum Institute and other industry and environmental groups’ petitions. The ESs, which include the first federal air standards for natural gas wells that are hydraulically fractured, were intended to curb emissions of volatile organic compounds and hazardous air pollutants from those wells. The standards require new hydraulically fractured gas wells to utilize technology known as a “green completion” to capture gas that otherwise would escape. The issues under the proposed rule that the EPA will not reconsider include industry concerns that the standards require flaring in situations in potential violation of local ordinances. The EPA estimates that the regulations will reduce volatile organic compound emissions by nearly 95% from natural gas wells.
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