Mark Barron Comments on "Exemptions" to BLM's Methane Rule

News / March 21, 2017

Partner Mark Barron is quoted in an article E&E News published on March 13, 2017. The article, “Hearing Shut-In Well Concerns, BLM Rule Backers Ask Why,” examines purported cost-based exemptions in the Bureau of Land Management’s Methane and Waste Prevention Rule. The rule includes language that suggest operators can be exempted from compliance with certain aspects of the rule when the cost of compliance with those provisions would force drillers to shut in their natural gas wells. Energy producers contend that these exemptions are meaningless.

Barron explained that the BLM rule excludes wells on future leases and low-producing "stripper wells," which BLM has said represent 85 percent of federal wells in production. "In the end, the 'exemptions' that supporters of the rule laud apply to no more than 15 percent of the producing wells on existing leases and none of any wells drilled on future leases," he said. "Using BLM's own math and the agency's explanations in the preamble, it's hard to argue that the 'exemptions' are anything more than symbolic."

Read the article (registration required).

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