Environmental Groups Threaten To Sue EPA for Failing to Update Air Rules

On July 2, 2008 a coalition of environmental groups sent a letter to the U.S. EPA (“agency”) indicating their intent to sue within 60 days over the agency’s failure to review and update three sets of air pollution regulations for oil and gas operations, including transmission and distribution. The fundamental issue is that EPA has not reviewed its new source performance standards (NSPS) for oil and gas operations since 1985, although the Clean Air Act requires the agency to review them every eight years. The standards are aimed at ensuring that sources of air pollution use the latest technology to reduce contaminants endangering public health and welfare.

EPA’s failure to review the rules is clear and will likely result in the agency entering into a consent decree where a specific timetable to review the rules will be established. While this will result in a number of new rulemakings for INGAA members’ the extent to which the existing standards will be tightened will depend on the availability of new technology.