OAR Wrap Up: Proposed Rules Saving More Than $115 Million Annually in Regulatory Costs
WASHINGTON – Over the course of one week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed three separate rules — the Refrigerant Management Rule Amendments, Light-Duty Vehicle Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Program Technical Amendments, and Oil & Gas Targeted Improvements — totaling more than $115 million in regulatory cost savings. In addition, EPA has officially converted four regional haze Federal Implementation Plans (FIP) into State Implementation Plans (SIPs).
“These rules would provide greater certainty to the regulated community in areas where previous EPA actions exceeded its legal authority or caused confusion and undue burdens,” said EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “A lack of certainty from EPA hinders environmental protections and causes paralysis in the marketplace, and we are committed to fixing that.
Refrigerant Management Rule Amendments
Today, EPA proposed the Refrigerant Management proposed rule, which would generate approximately $40 million in regulatory savings annually. The proposed rule amendments revisit the Agency’s approach to regulating appliances containing substitute refrigerants, such as hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), based on PEA’s proposed interpretation that the Agency exceeded its statutory authority in extending refrigerant management requirements to appliances containing non-ozone depleting substitutes. This proposed rulemaking in no way affects the current requirements for ozone-depleting refrigerants.
EPA will take comment on the proposed rule for 45 days after the proposal is published in the Federal Register and will hold a public hearing in Washington, D.C. Details on the public hearing will be available shortly.
For more information, visit www.epa.gov/section608/revised-section-608-refrigerant-management-regulations
Light-Duty Vehicle GHG Program
The Light-Duty Vehicle GHG Program rule proposed today would correct minor technical errors in the GHG emissions regulations finalized in the 2012 rulemaking establishing standards for model years 2017-2025 light-duty vehicles. These amendments would clarify the calculation methodology in the regulations and allow the program to be implemented as originally intended. This proposal is separate from the recently announced joint EPA—National Highway Traffic Safety Administration proposed SAFE Vehicles Rule to address some of these underlying standards. Once this action is published in the Federal Register, there will be a 30-day comment period.
State Implementation Plans
EPA has converted regional haze FIPs in Missouri, South Carolina, Tennessee, and West Virginia into SIPs. In 2012, EPA issued a FIP covering many states, including these. This well-coordinated, cooperative approach, allows Missouri, South Carolina, Tennessee, and West Virginia to meet federal requirements while ensuring the protection of human health and the environment.
“I am pleased that the EPA is approving West Virginia’s plan,” said West Virginia Governor Jim Justice. “Protecting visibility in areas like Dolly Sods and Otter Creek is important for tourism and economic development. West Virginia appreciates the responsiveness of the new leadership at EPA and in this case, it means West Virginia has the freedom to develop its own plan and not have a one size fits all plan forced on us.”
During the Obama Administration, more than 50 Federal Implementation Plans (FIPs) were imposed on states, including over a dozen under the Regional Haze program. Under the Trump Administration, EPA has turned approximately one FIP into a SIP every month.
Once the SIPs are published in the Federal Register, they will be available here:
- MO: https://www.regulations.gov/docket?D=EPA-R07-OAR-2018-0211
- SC: https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=EPA-R04-OAR-2018-0073-0001
- TN: https://www.regulations.gov/docket?D=EPA-R04-OAR-2018-0187
- WV: https://www.regulations.gov/docket?D=EPA-R03-OAR-2018-0217
Oil & Gas Targeted Improvements
The Oil & Gas Technical Package proposed targeted improvements to the 2016 New Source Performance Standards for the oil and gas industry that streamline implementation, reduce duplicative EPA and state requirements, and significantly decrease unnecessary burdens on domestic energy producers. This oil and gas targeted improvements package is expected to save up to approximately $484 million in regulatory costs from 2019–2025 or $75 million annually.
The proposed improvements include: aligning requirements between EPA’s rule and existing state programs; modifying the frequency for monitoring leaks (also known as “fugitive emissions”) at well sites and compressor stations; and making it easier for owners and operators to use emerging measurement technologies in their leaks monitoring surveys.
The Agency continues to consider other policy issues in the 2016 rule, including the regulation of GHGs in the oil and gas sector, and will be addressed in a separate proposal at a later date.
EPA will take comment on the proposed rule for 60 days after the proposal is published in the Federal Register and will hold a public hearing in Denver, Colo. Details on the public hearing will be available shortly.