[Federal Register Volume 82, Number 63 (Tuesday, April 4, 2017)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 16331-16332]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2017-06658]



40 CFR Part 60


Review of the 2016 Oil and Gas New Source Performance Standards 
for New, Reconstructed, and Modified Sources

AGENCY: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

ACTION: Announcement of review.


SUMMARY: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announces it is 
reviewing the 2016 Oil and Gas New Source Performance Standards and, if 
appropriate, will initiate reconsideration proceedings to suspend, 
revise or rescind this rule.

DATES: April 4, 2017.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Peter Tsirigotis, Sector Policies 
and Programs Division (D205-01), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 
Research Triangle Park, NC 27711; telephone number: (888) 627-7764; 
email address: [email protected].

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The EPA announces it is reviewing the 2016 
Oil and Gas New Source Performance Standards (Rule) 81 FR 35,824 (June 
3, 2016), and, if appropriate, will initiate proceedings to suspend, 
revise, or rescind it.

I. Background

    Section 111 of the Clean Air Act authorizes the EPA to issue 
nationally applicable New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) limiting 
air pollution from ``new sources'' in source categories that cause or 
contribute to air pollution that may reasonably be anticipated to 
endanger public health or welfare. 42 U.S.C. 7411(b)(1). Under this 

[[Page 16332]]

the EPA had regulated sulfur dioxide emissions from natural gas 
processing and volatile organic chemicals (VOCs) from a number of 
equipment and operations at oil and gas facilities. 40 CFR part 60 
subpart OOOO. In 2016, the EPA promulgated this Rule, which expanded 
the existing NSPS by requiring methane reductions from previously 
regulated sources and limiting methane and VOCs from other types of new 
oil and gas facilities never before regulated under Section 111.
    Several state and industry petitioners challenged this Rule in the 
U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia alleging, inter 
alia, that EPA acted arbitrarily and capriciously, and in excess of 
statutory authority. See, e.g., West Virginia v. EPA, 16-1264, State 
Petitioners' Nonbinding Statement of the Issues to be Raised. These 
cases have been consolidated and are pending before the court. Many of 
these parties also submitted petitions for reconsideration of this Rule 
to EPA. The Agency has not yet acted on these petitions.

II. Initiation of Review of This Rule

    On March 28, 2017, President Trump issued an Executive Order 
establishing a national policy in favor of energy independence, 
economic growth, and the rule of law. The purpose of that Executive 
Order is to facilitate the development of U.S. energy resources--
including oil and gas--and to reduce unnecessary regulatory burdens 
associated with the development of those resources. The President has 
directed agencies to review existing regulations that potentially 
burden the development of domestic energy resources, and appropriately 
suspend, revise, or rescind regulations that unduly burden the 
development of U.S. energy resources beyond what is necessary to 
protect the public interest or otherwise comply with the law. The 
Executive Order also directs agencies to take appropriate actions, to 
the extent permitted by law, to promote clean air and clean water while 
also respecting the proper roles of Congress and the States. This 
Executive Order specifically directs EPA to review and, if appropriate, 
initiate proceedings to suspend, revise or rescind this Rule.
    Pursuant to the Executive Order, EPA is initiating its review of 
this Rule and providing advanced notice of forthcoming rulemaking 
proceedings consistent with the President's policies. If EPA's review 
concludes that suspension, revision or rescission of this Rule may be 
appropriate, EPA's review will be followed by a rulemaking process that 
will be transparent, follow proper administrative procedures, include 
appropriate engagement with the public, employ sound science, and be 
firmly grounded in the law.
    EPA's ability to revisit existing regulations is well-grounded in 
the law. Specifically, the agency has inherent authority to reconsider 
past decisions and to rescind or revise a decision to the extent 
permitted by law when supported by a reasoned explanation. FCC v. Fox 
Television Stations, Inc., 556 U.S. 502, 515 (2009) (``Fox''); Motor 
Vehicle Manufacturers Ass'n of the United States, Inc., et al., v. 
State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., et al., 463 U.S. 29, 42 
(1983) (``State Farm''). Moreover, the Clean Air Act itself authorizes 
EPA to reconsider its rulemakings. 42 U.S.C. 7607(b)(1), (d)(7)(B). The 
Clean Air Act complements the EPA's inherent authority to reconsider 
prior rulemakings by providing the agency with broad authority to 
prescribe regulations as necessary. 42 U.S.C. 7601(a). The authority to 
reconsider prior decisions exists in part because EPA's interpretations 
of statutes it administers ``are not carved in stone'' but must be 
evaluated ``on a continuing basis,'' Chevron U.S.A. Inc. v. NRDC, Inc., 
467 U.S. 837, 857-58 (1984). This is true when--as is the case here--
review is undertaken ``in response to . . . a change in 
administrations.'' National Cable & Telecommunications Ass'n v. Brand X 
Internet Services, 545 U.S. 967, 981 (2005). Importantly, such a 
revised decision need not be based upon a change of facts or 
circumstances. Rather, a revised rulemaking based ``on a reevaluation 
of which policy would be better in light of the facts'' is ``well 
within an agency's discretion,'' and ``[a] change in administration 
brought about by the people casting their votes is a perfectly 
reasonable basis for an executive agency's reappraisal of the costs and 
benefits of its programs and regulations.'' National Ass'n of Home 
Builders v. EPA, 682 F.3d 1032, 1038 & 1043 (D.C. Cir. 2012) (citing 
Fox, 556 U.S. at 514-15; quoting State Farm, 463 U.S. at 59 (Rehnquist, 
J., concurring in part and dissenting in part)).
    In conducting this review, EPA will follow each of the principles 
and policies set forth in the Executive Order, consistent with the 
EPA's statutory authority. The Agency will reevaluate whether this Rule 
or alternative approaches are appropriately grounded in EPA's statutory 
authority and consistent with the rule of law. The EPA will assess 
whether this Rule or alternative approaches would appropriately promote 
cooperative federalism and respect the authority and powers that are 
reserved to the States. EPA will also examine whether this Rule or 
alternative approaches effect the Administration's dual goals of 
protecting public health and welfare while also supporting economic 
growth and job creation. EPA will review whether this Rule or 
alternative approaches appropriately maintain the diversity of reliable 
energy resources and encourage the production of domestic energy 
sources to achieve energy independence and security.
    Additionally, EPA will assess this Rule and alternative approaches 
to determine whether they will provide benefits that substantially 
exceed their costs. In taking any actions subsequent to this review, 
EPA will use its appropriated funds and agency resources wisely by 
firmly grounding in the statute its actions to protect public health 
and welfare.

    Dated: March 28, 2017.
E. Scott Pruitt,
[FR Doc. 2017-06658 Filed 4-3-17; 8:45 am]