API lists emissions requirements it would like EPA to review

The American Petroleum Institute said it would like to see the US Environmental Protection Agency review requirements to limit emissions from new oil and gas operations, quotas under the federal Renewable Fuel Standard, and implementation of ground-level ozone controls under National Ambient Air Quality Standards.

The American Petroleum Institute said it would like to see the US Environmental Protection Agency review requirements to limit emissions from new oil and gas operations, quotas under the federal Renewable Fuel Standard, and implementation of ground-level ozone controls under National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS).

“Technological innovations and industry leadership have propelled the oil and gas industry forward, despite the unprecedented level of federal regulatory actions targeting our industry,” API Regulatory and Scientific Affairs Senior Director Howard J. Feldman said during an Apr. 24 public meeting hosted by EPA’s Air and Radiation Office. The meeting was in response to US President Donald J. Trump’s Apr. 5 Executive Order 13771 for federal departments and agencies to review and improve their regulations.

“Consistent with President Trump’s stated objectives of American energy independence and economic growth, EPA and other federal agencies should embrace smart, cost-effective regulations,” Feldman said.

He said API submitted a detailed petition for administrative reconsideration of the final New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) rule to then-EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy in August 2016. “The previous 2012 standards, developed in collaboration with industry, and innovation, driven by industry's incentive to capture more of what we sell, are already effectively reducing emissions,” he said.

Feldman said API was encouraged by EPA’s announcement earlier in April that it would review the 2016 final NSPS rule, and urged the agency to extend compliance deadlines while the review takes place.

When it comes to the RFS, he said API would like EPA to use its waiver authority to reduce the advanced, cellulosic, and total renewable fuel obligations to ensure the mandate does not exceed the E10 blendwall.

“In order to maintain a market for ethanol-free gasoline, EPA should not set a RFS mandate that would cause the average ethanol content to exceed 9.7% of projected gasoline demand,” Feldman said. “EPA should use realistic projections of E0, E15, E85 and cellulosic demand when setting the annual RVOs.”

Point of obligation issue

API also asked EPA to resist calls to remove the RFS’s point of obligation as proposed by the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers and some independent refiners. Doing this simply reallocates the problems to a different group of fuel supply-chain participants without alleviating the RFS’s significant structural flaws, Feldman said.

He also urged EPA to work with Congress to reform and ultimately end the RFS, which API considers unworkable “as the program does reflect current market realities and it creates the potential for economic harm.”

Regarding the ozone NAAQS, Feldman said that API previously said that the requirements EPA imposed in late 2015 were unnecessary since ambient levels were declining already under 2008 requirements which several states had not implemented fully. “Unfortunately, EPA’s new standards create tremendous burden on states and risk significant impacts on job growth, and the potential number of US counties thrown out of attainment could more than triple,” he warned.

API supports EPA reconsideration of the 2015 Ozone NAAQS based on the issues API identified in its comments and court briefs, and is encouraged by EPA’s motion to continue oral argument on the 2015 Ozone NAAQS, Feldman testified.

“Since the deadlines pertaining to the 2008 and 2015 ozone NAAQS are staggered and both standards are progressing, it is difficult for states to harmonize activities toward the implementation of the NAAQS. For this reason, we encourage EPA to expeditiously complete its review,” he said.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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