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Western Energy Alliance, IPAA Challenge BLM Methane Regulations

On November 15, 2016, the Western Energy Alliance and the Independent Petroleum Association of America filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Wyoming, challenging the Bureau of Land Management's final rule; "Waste Prevention, Production Subject to Royalties, and Resources Conservation."

While the rule has been finalized by BLM, it has yet to be published in the Federal Register. As proposed, the rule would regulate venting, flaring, and leaks during oil and natural gas production activities on onshore federal and Indian leases. The regulations would also clarify when produced natural gas lost through venting, flaring, or leaks is subject to royalties, and when oil and natural gas used on site would be royalty-free.

The lawsuit alleges that the final rule seeks to regulate air quality from oil and natural gas production facilities on non-federal lands, which the plaintiffs allege is a function delegated exclusively to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The lawsuit also alleges that the final rule is an abuse of discretion, arbitrary and capricious, not supported by the administrative record, and procedurally deficient.