W.Va. Challenges EPA's Oil & Gas Methane Rule

Aug 3, 2016

Natural Gas Compressor Station
Credit Glen Dillon / wikimedia Commons

This week West Virginia’s Attorney General launched his latest lawsuit against the federal Environmental Protection Agency. Patrick Morrisey is leading a dozen other states in a suit that hopes to dismantle a rule aiming to reduce methane emissions produced by the oil and gas industry.

The suit asks the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to review a rule that sets the first-ever standards to cut methane emissions from the oil and gas sector. The EPA estimates the oil and gas industry is the largest methane-emitting sector in the country. The agency finalized new standards earlier this year because methane is a potent greenhouse gas.

Morrisey says the new regulations are illegal and will threatens jobs by raising gas production and distributions costs. The EPA estimates regulations will cost the industry $530 million in 2025. Recent financial reports indicate the sector created over $230 billion in revenues last year.

The suit was filed on the heels of a separate, similar suit filed by a dozen industry groups.