BLM proposes revisions to its 2016 venting, flaring rule

The US Bureau of Land Management proposed revisions to its 2016 venting and flaring rule on Feb. 12 after a review found that it underestimated its impact on operators and overlapped with many existing state and federal regulations. The agency previously suspended implementation of several provisions in the rule until Jan. 17, 2019, while it completed the reevaluation.

The US Bureau of Land Management proposed revisions to its 2016 venting and flaring rule on Feb. 12 after a review found that it underestimated its impact on operators and overlapped with many existing state and federal regulations. The agency previously suspended implementation of several provisions in the rule until Jan. 17, 2019, while it completed the reevaluation (OGJ Online, Dec. 8, 2017).

“In order to achieve energy dominance through responsible energy production, we need smart regulations not punitive regulations,” said Joe Balash, assistant US Interior secretary for land and minerals management. “We believe this proposed rule strikes that balance and will allow job growth in rural America.”

BLM proposed replacing the venting and flaring rule with requirements like those that were in force prior to the 2016 final rule. This proposal would align the regulations with administration priorities on energy development, job creation, and reduced compliance costs while also working more closely with existing state regulatory efforts, other officials said. Comments on the proposed revisions will be accepted for 60 days.

An American Petroleum Institute official welcomed the news. “We support smart regulation that is effectively tailored to BLM’s authority to prevent waste and conserve resources, an objective that our industry shares,” said Erik Milito, API upstream and industry operations group director.

Environmental Defense Fund Fred Krupp criticized the move. “The proposal put forward today would only serve to reward the least responsible actors in industry at a time when other companies are moving forward to tackle methane waste,” he said.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

More in Government