Western Energy Alliance and the Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA) today achieved an important victory in the U.S. District Court for Wyoming, along with the states of Montana, North Dakota, Texas and Wyoming. Judge Scott Skavdahl’s decision vacated the 2016 waste prevention rule, an overreaching methane regulation finalized in the waning days of the Obama Administration that unlawfully granted air quality authority to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).
When the rule was originally finalized in November 2016 at the end of President Barack Obama’s administration, the Alliance and IPAA along with the states challenged it in the Wyoming court. The Trump Administration finalized a new rule in 2018 that corrected the unlawful aspects of the original. When environmental groups, California and New Mexico obtained a court ruling overturning the 2018 rule from the Northern District of California, our case in Wyoming was restarted. Today’s ruling by Judge Scott Skavdahl ends the seesawing litigation between the two courts.
“We are overjoyed that an overreaching regulation has been overturned today. Judge Skavdahl agreed with us that BLM does not have the authority to regulate air quality,” said Kathleen Sgamma, president of Western Energy Alliance. “BLM can regulate waste of methane, but not put in place air quality controls and regulate existing sources. The Clean Air Act gives that authority to EPA and the states. Hopefully, we can quit playing boomerang between the two courts and get back to sensible regulation within BLM’s purview. Meanwhile, companies have continued a decades-long trend of reducing methane emissions by nearly 23% since 1990 even as natural gas production has increased more than 50%.”
"IPAA is pleased with Judge Skavdahl's ruling to vacate the Obama-Era Waste Prevention Rule that wildly overstepped the authority given to the Department of the Interior," said Barry Rusell, IPAA President and CEO. "This rule, which aimed to regulate venting and flaring, was an attempt to create yet another regulatory hurdle for American oil and natural gas producers operating on federal lands. We are pleased to see Skavdahl's sensible approach and rightfully see this as a win for producers."
Regulatory and Litigation Timeline:
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DENVER – Western Energy Alliance’s president, Kathleen Sgamma, will testify at a hearing titled Interior’s Royalty Cuts: Thoughtful Policy or Industry Giveaway? before the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources. Sgamma will explain how the temporary royalty relief granted in response to the global pandemic by Interior Secretary David Bernhardt is a small reduction that helps ensure royalty revenue generation far into the future. The virtual hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, October 6th, at 2:00 p.m. ET, and will be available to view on the committee’s website.
“Those in Congress who support efforts to ban leasing and development of oil and natural gas on federal lands, which would ensure no future royalty revenue at all, are worried about temporary, emergency royalty relief,” said Sgamma. “When over a trillion dollars of COVID relief was directly given to companies across all sectors of the economy in response to the global pandemic, why would Congress begrudge one industry a relatively tiny amount of temporary tax reduction? The targeted, temporary relief granted by the Interior Secretary, using the power given him by Congress, enabled some producers to ensure the solvency of their leases over a few months so that they can generate royalties years into the future. That relief, like CARES Act direct assistance, was a response to the unprecedented COVID pandemic lockdowns and ensuing economic collapse, not a nefarious ‘giveaway’. Rather, Congress should recognize the contribution of the oil and natural gas industry responding to and providing solutions for this health crisis, rather than singling it out for exclusion.”
Sgamma’s full testimony is available on the Alliance’s website.
What: House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources
Hearing on Interior’s Royalty Cuts: Thoughtful Policy or Industry Giveaway?
Who: Kathleen Sgamma, president of Western Energy Alliance
When: Tuesday, October 6, 2020, 2:00 p.m. ET
Where: Online on YouTube and the Committee webpage.
DENVER -- Western Energy Alliance welcomes the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) release of a final methane rule, the New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) OOOOa rule. The following is a statement from Alliance President Kathleen Sgamma:
“Western Energy Alliance is pleased that EPA has finalized the methane rule. The rule is a sensible combination of technical fixes to the 2016 rule, as well as a correction to the violations of the Clean Air Act present in the original rule. Throughout this process, environmental groups and the media have misrepresented the rule changes as the Trump Administration rolling back any regulation of methane. This is a willfully false narrative that luckily, Administrator Wheeler had the courage to stand against. I use the word ‘courage’ intentionally as the outright lies about this rule by the environmental lobby are calculated as a way of achieving political goals without doing the hard work of following the law. Most Administrators have withered under that pressure, or were part of such efforts themselves.
DENVER – Western Energy Alliance applauds the passage of the Great American Outdoors Act with strong bipartisan support in the U.S. House of Representatives. The legislation takes $6.65 billion over five years in royalty revenue from oil and natural gas production on public lands and directs it towards reducing the National Park Service’s $12 billion maintenance backlog.
“You’re welcome! Oil and natural gas production on non-park, non-wilderness public lands will now help meet the mounting needs of our national parks,” said Kathleen Sgamma, president of the Alliance. “Offshore production has been funding 100 percent of the Land and Water Conservation Fund for many years, and now onshore public lands development will likewise contribute directly to conservation. We’re pleased to see that a bipartisan majority in Congress recognizes that we can responsibly produce oil and natural gas on public lands while protecting the environment.
DENVER – Western Energy Alliance today submitted public comments to the White House Council on Environmental Quality supporting proposed updates to regulations implementing the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The oil and natural gas trade association requested the proposed rule be expeditiously finalized, with some targeted revisions. The agency deadline is today for public comment letters.