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Wold Drilling

A drilling rig for Wold Energy Partners located outside of Rolling Hills on Oct. 4.

A federal court in Wyoming will reopen the case into the Bureau of Land Management’s methane rule, a set of requirements cutting emissions from the oil and gas sector that industry and politicians have repeatedly tried to get rid of.

Energy states including Wyoming and Texas are asking the court to suspend the rule until the Bureau of Land Management finishes a revision of the requirements in a few months.

Compliance on aspects of the Bureau of Land Management Methane Waste Reduction rule began in January of last year, after a failed attempt in the Wyoming courts to stay the rule’s implementation given a dispute over whether the federal agency was allowed to regulate natural gas emissions.

The rule has been on and off the books ever since.

The U.S. Congress tried to ax the rule in the spring, but the move failed in the Senate. The Trump administration attempted to withdraw the rule, but was sued for cutting corners to undo the regulations in a hurry without following administrative rules. The administration suspended compliance given the rule’s uncertainty and began a rewrite process.

A California federal court ruling recently put the methane requirements back in place, with industry calling foul.

Firms argued that mandating compliance on the rules, which include the use of both manpower and infrared equipment to catch leaks in pipelines, is unfair given that the rules are about to change.

Supporters of the rule, and the California court, counter that the harm of not having a rule in place to reduce emissions is greater than the burden on industry to comply.

Follow energy reporter Heather Richards on Twitter @hroxaner


Energy Reporter

Heather Richards writes about energy and the environment. A native of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia, she moved to Wyoming in 2015 to cover natural resources and government in Buffalo. Heather joined the Star Tribune later that year.

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