Just days after Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton led an 11-state coalition sent a letter to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to withdraw an overreaching mandate, they received a positive response. The letter urged the EPA to withdraw its request that owners and operators in the oil and natural gas industry provide information on equipment and emissions at existing oil and gas operations. Donald Trump’s administration has withdrawn the mandate effective immediately, meaning owners and operators – including those who have received an extension to their due dates for providing the information – are no longer required to respond.
“We are pleased that the EPA has responded to our request and withdrawn its burdensome and unlawful information demand to oil and gas producers across the country,” Paxton said. “We applaud Administrator Pruitt for his adherence to the rule of law as he pursues the balance Congress has struck between preserving our environment and allowing our economy to grow.”
“At this time, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt would like to assess the need for the information that the agency was collecting through these requests,” a press release from the EPA stated. “This action also comes after the agency received a letter on March 1, 2017, from nine state Attorneys General and the Governors of Mississippi and Kentucky, expressing concern with the pending Information Collection Request for Oil and Gas Facilities.
“By taking this step, EPA is signaling that we take these concerns seriously and are committed to strengthening our partnership with the states,” said EPA Administrator Pruitt. “Today’s action will reduce burdens on businesses while we take a closer look at the need for additional information from this industry.”
Under the Obama administration, EPA sent letters to more than 15,000 owners and operators in the oil and gas industry, requiring them to provide information. The information request comprised of two parts: an “operator survey” that asked for basic information on the numbers and types of equipment at all onshore oil and gas production facilities in the U.S., and a “facility survey” asking for more detailed information on sources of methane emissions and emission control devices or practices in use by a representative sampling of facilities in several segments of the oil and gas industry. EPA is withdrawing both parts of the information request.