[Federal Register Volume 83, Number 48 (Monday, March 12, 2018)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 10628-10638]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2018-04431]


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ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

40 CFR Part 60

[EPA-HQ-OAR-2010-0505; FRL-9975-10-OAR]
RIN 2060-AT59


Oil and Natural Gas Sector: Emission Standards for New, 
Reconstructed, and Modified Sources; Amendments

AGENCY: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

ACTION: Final rule.

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SUMMARY: This action finalizes amendments of certain requirements that 
are contained within the final rule titled ``Oil and Natural Gas 
Sector: Emission Standards for New, Reconstructed, and Modified 
Sources,'' published in the Federal Register on June 3, 2016 (2016 
Rule). The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is finalizing 
amendments of two narrow provisions of the requirements for the 
collection of fugitive emission components at well sites and compressor 
stations: Removes the requirement for completion of delayed repair 
during unscheduled or emergency vent blowdowns, and provides separate 
monitoring requirements for well sites located on the Alaskan North 
Slope.

DATES: This final rule is effective on March 12, 2018.

ADDRESSES: The EPA has established a docket for this action under 
Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2010-0505. All documents in the docket are 
listed on the https://www.regulations.gov website. Although listed in 
the index, some information is not publically available, e.g., 
confidential business information or other information whose disclosure 
is restricted by statute. Certain other material, such as copyrighted 
material, is not placed on the internet and will be publicly available 
only in hard copy form. Publicly available docket materials are 
available electronically through https://www.regulations.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mrs. Karen Marsh, Sector Policies and 
Programs Division (E143-05), Office of Air Quality Planning and 
Standards, Environmental Protection Agency, Research Triangle Park, 
North Carolina 27711; telephone number: (919) 541-1065; email address: 
marsh.karen@epa.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 
    Outline. The information presented in this preamble is presented as 
follows:

I. General Information
    A. Does this action apply to me?
    B. Where can I get a copy of this document and other related 
information?
    C. Judicial Review
II. Background
III. Legal Authority
IV. Summary of Final Action
    A. Delayed Repairs
    B. Alaskan North Slope
V. Summary of Significant Comments and Responses
    A. The EPA's Legal Authority
    B. Delayed Repairs
    C. Alaskan North Slope
VI. Impacts of the Final Amendments
VII. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews
    A. Executive Order 12866: Regulatory Planning and Review and 
Executive

[[Page 10629]]

Order 13563: Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review
    B. Executive Order 13771: Reducing Regulations and Controlling 
Regulatory Costs
    C. Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA)
    D. Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA)
    E. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA)
    F. Executive Order 13132: Federalism
    G. Executive Order 13175: Consultation and Coordination With 
Indian Tribal Governments
    H. Executive Order 13045: Protection of Children From 
Environmental Health Risks and Safety Risks
    I. Executive Order 13211: Actions Concerning Regulations That 
Significantly Affect Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use
    J. National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act (NTTAA)
    K. Executive Order 12898: Federal Actions To Address 
Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income 
Populations
    L. Congressional Review Act (CRA)

I. General Information

A. Does this action apply to me?

    Categories and entities potentially affected by this action 
include:

                          Table 1--Industrial Source Categories Affected by This Action
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          Category            NAICS code \1\                    Examples of regulated entities
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Industry....................          211111  Crude Petroleum and Natural Gas Extraction.
                                      211112  Natural Gas Liquid Extraction.
                                      221210  Natural Gas Distribution.
                                      486110  Pipeline Distribution of Crude Oil.
                                      486210  Pipeline Transportation of Natural Gas.
Federal government..........                  Not affected.
State/local/tribal                            Not affected.
 government.
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\1\ North American Industry Classification System.

    This table is not intended to be exhaustive, but rather provides a 
guide for readers regarding entities likely to be regulated by this 
action. This table lists the types of entities that the EPA is now 
aware could potentially be affected by this action. Other types of 
entities not listed in the table could also be regulated. To determine 
whether your entity is regulated by this action, you should carefully 
examine the applicability criteria found in the final rule. If you have 
questions regarding the applicability of this action to a particular 
entity, consult the person listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION 
CONTACT section of this preamble, your delegated authority, or your EPA 
Regional representative listed in 40 CFR 60.4 (General Provisions).

B. Where can I get a copy of this document and other related 
information?

    In addition to being available in the docket, an electronic copy of 
the final action is available on the internet. Following signature by 
the Administrator, the EPA will post a copy of this final action at 
https://www.epa.gov/controlling-air-pollution-oil-and-natural-gas-industry. Additional information is also available at the same website.

C. Judicial Review

    Under section 307(b)(1) of the Clean Air Act (CAA), judicial review 
of this final rule is available only by filing a petition for review in 
the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit 
by May 11, 2018. Moreover, under section 307(b)(2) of the CAA, the 
requirements established by this final rule may not be challenged 
separately in any civil or criminal proceedings brought by the EPA to 
enforce these requirements. Section 307(d)(7)(B) of the CAA further 
provides that ``[o]nly an objection to a rule or procedure which was 
raised with reasonable specificity during the period for public comment 
(including any public hearing) may be raised during judicial review.'' 
This section also provides a mechanism for the EPA to convene a 
proceeding for reconsideration, ``[i]f the person raising an objection 
can demonstrate to the EPA that it was impracticable to raise such 
objection within [the period for public comment] or if the grounds for 
such objection arose after the period for public comment, (but within 
the time specified for judicial review) and if such objection is of 
central relevance to the outcome of the rule.'' Any person seeking to 
make such a demonstration to us should submit a Petition for 
Reconsideration to the Office of the Administrator, U.S. EPA, Room 
3000, EPA WJC West Building, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington, DC 
20460, with a copy to both the person(s) listed in the preceding FOR 
FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section, and the Associate General Counsel 
for the Air and Radiation Law Office, Office of General Counsel (Mail 
Code 2344A), U.S. EPA, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20460.

II. Background

    On June 3, 2016, the EPA published a final rule titled ``Oil and 
Natural Gas Sector: Emission Standards for New, Reconstructed, and 
Modified Sources; Final Rule,'' at 81 FR 35824 (``2016 Rule''). The 
2016 Rule established new source performance standards (NSPS) for 
greenhouse gas and volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions from the 
oil and natural gas sector. This rule addressed, among other things, 
fugitive emissions at well sites and compressor stations (``fugitive 
emissions requirements'') and emissions from pneumatic pumps. In 
addition, for a number of affected facilities (i.e., centrifugal 
compressors, reciprocating compressors, pneumatic pumps, and storage 
vessels), the rule required certification by a professional engineer of 
the closed vent system design and capacity, as well as any technical 
infeasibility determination relative to controlling pneumatic pumps at 
well sites. For further information on the 2016 Rule, see 81 FR 35824 
(June 3, 2016) and associated Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2010-0505. A 
number of states and industry associations sought judicial review of 
the rule, and the litigation is currently being held in abeyance. In 
addition, the EPA received a number of petitions for administrative 
reconsideration of the rule and on April 18, 2017, convened a 
proceeding to reconsider certain aspects of the rule, including those 
related to the above three requirements.
    On June 16, 2017, the EPA proposed to stay the fugitive emissions 
requirements, the well site pneumatic pump requirements, and the 
requirements for certification of closed vent systems by a professional 
engineer for 2 years. The EPA proposed the stay of these requirements 
in order to provide the EPA with sufficient time to propose, take 
public comment on, and issue a final action on the issues under

[[Page 10630]]

reconsideration. See 82 FR 27645 (June 16, 2017). On November 8, 2017, 
the EPA issued a notice of data availability (NODA), in which the EPA 
offered additional information in further support of the proposed stay 
and solicited comments on a suggestion from stakeholders to allow 
additional time to phase in these requirements as opposed to a stay. 
See 82 FR 51788 (November 8, 2017). Additionally, the NODA solicited 
comment and information on several implementation challenges raised by 
stakeholders. In particular, the EPA broadly solicited comments on 
issues associated with the requirement to complete repairs on 
components on a delay of repair (hereinafter referred to as ``delayed 
repair'' for short in this notice) \1\ during emergency or unscheduled 
shutdowns or vent blowdowns and suggestions for addressing the issues. 
See 82 FR 51793.
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    \1\ See 40 CFR 60.5397a(h)(2) for delay of repair requirements.
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    EPA received a broad range of comments and information in response 
to the proposed stay and the NODA. Relevant to this action is 
information regarding two specific provisions of the fugitive emissions 
requirements that we have concluded present immediate compliance 
concerns: (1) The requirement that delayed repairs must be completed 
during unscheduled or emergency vent blowdowns that occur within the 2-
year repair timeframe and prior to other scheduled events, and (2) the 
monitoring survey requirements for well sites located on the Alaskan 
North Slope. See section IV of this preamble for a discussion of these 
concerns and these final amendments. The Agency is still examining 
comments related to all other issues raised in the proposal and NODA, 
including other issues related to delayed repair and the Alaskan North 
Slope, and is not taking final action with respect to these other 
matters in this final action.

III. Legal Authority

    The legal authority for this final action, which amends two narrow 
provisions of the fugitive emissions requirements in the 2016 Rule, is 
the same as that for the promulgation of the 2016 Rule. The EPA 
promulgated the 2016 Rule pursuant to section 111(b)(1)(B) of the CAA, 
which requires the EPA to issue ``standards of performance'' for new 
sources in the list of categories of stationary sources that cause or 
contribute significantly to air pollution which may reasonably be 
anticipated to endanger public health or welfare. See 81 FR 35828. CAA 
section 111(a)(1) defines ``a standard of performance'' as ``a standard 
for emissions of air pollutants which reflects the degree of emission 
limitation achievable through the application of the best system of 
emission reduction which (taking into account the cost of achieving 
such reduction and any nonair quality health and environmental impact 
and energy requirement) the Administrator determines has been 
adequately demonstrated.'' This definition makes clear that the 
standard of performance must be based on controls that constitute ``the 
best system of emission reduction . . . adequately demonstrated.'' The 
standard that the EPA develops, based on the best system of emission 
reduction (BSER), is commonly a numerical emissions limit, expressed as 
a performance level (e.g., a rate-based standard). However, CAA section 
111(h)(1) authorizes the Administrator to promulgate a work practice 
standard or other requirements, which reflects the best technological 
system of continuous emission reduction, if it is not feasible to 
prescribe or enforce an emissions standard. The work practice standards 
for fugitive emissions from well sites and compressor stations were 
promulgated pursuant to CAA section 111(h)(1)(A). See 81 FR 35829.
    Agencies have inherent authority to reconsider past decisions and 
to revise, replace, or repeal a decision to the extent permitted by law 
and supported by a reasoned explanation. FCC v. Fox Television 
Stations, Inc., 556 U.S. 502, 515 (2009); Motor Vehicle Mfrs. Ass'n v. 
State Farm Mutual Auto. Ins. Co., 463 U.S. 29, 42 (1983) (``State 
Farm''). ``The power to decide in the first instance carries with it 
the power to reconsider.'' Trujillo v. Gen. Elec. Co., 621 F.2d 1084, 
1086 (10th Cir. 1980); see also, United Gas Improvement Co. v. Callery 
Properties, Inc., 382 U.S. 223, 229 (1965); Mazaleski v. Treusdell, 562 
F.2d 701, 720 (D.C. Cir. 1977). Accordingly, in this final rule, the 
EPA is using the same statutory authority in promulgating the 2016 Rule 
to amend two provisions of the fugitive emissions requirements in the 
2016 Rule. As explained below in section IV, with these two narrowly 
tailored amendments, the fugitive emissions requirements better reflect 
BSER for reducing fugitive emissions at well sites and compressor 
stations.

IV. Summary of Final Action

    The EPA is finalizing amendments to two fugitive emissions 
requirements: (1) The requirements for delayed repairs, and (2) the 
monitoring survey requirements for well sites located on the Alaskan 
North Slope.

A. Delayed Repairs

    In this action, the EPA is finalizing amendments to the 
requirements related to delayed repairs. Specifically, the final rule 
removes the requirement for completion of delayed repairs during 
unscheduled or emergency vent blowdowns. Owners and operators are still 
required to complete repairs during the next compressor station 
shutdown, well shutdown, well shut-in, after a planned vent blowdown, 
or within 2 years, whichever is earlier.
    The 2016 Rule requires replacement or repair of a component within 
30 days of detection of fugitive emissions, but allows delaying the 
replacement/repair under certain situations specified in the rule. 
Specifically, the rule requires that the delayed repair ``must be 
completed during the next compressor station shutdown, well shutdown, 
well shut-in, after an unscheduled, planned or emergency vent blowdown 
or within 2 years, whichever is earlier.'' See 40 CFR 60.5397a(h)(2). 
While the only unscheduled and emergency event specified in this 
regulation is with regard to vent blowdown, the EPA stated in the 
preamble to the 2016 Rule that ``if an unscheduled or emergency vent 
blowdown, compressor station shutdown, well shutdown, or well shut-in 
occurs during the delay of repair period, the fugitive emissions 
components would need to be fixed at that time.'' See 81 FR 35858, June 
3, 2016. This preamble language implied that delayed repairs were 
required if any of these events occurred, regardless of whether it was 
planned. As mentioned previously, the EPA discussed in the NODA 
stakeholder feedback that requiring repair or replacement of fugitive 
emissions components during unscheduled or emergency vent blowdowns 
could result in natural gas supply disruptions, safety concerns, and 
increased emissions. In response, the EPA solicited comments on 
shutdown, shut-in, and blowdown scenarios that could result in 
technical, safety, and/or environmental issues, as well as suggestions 
for addressing them. See 82 FR 51793, November 8, 2017. The EPA learned 
from the comments, through additional specific examples, that the 
requirement to complete delayed repairs during an unscheduled or 
emergency vent blowdown could lead to a number of unintended negative 
consequences. In particular, emissions from requiring delayed repairs 
during an unscheduled or emergency shutdown, shut-in, or vent blowdown 
could result in greater emissions than the leaks that are to be

[[Page 10631]]

repaired; as such, it could not possibly reflect BSER for addressing 
fugitive emissions at well sites and compressor stations.
    One commenter described configurations at well sites that can lead 
to an automatic emergency well shut-in and where the rule, if applied 
as suggested in the preamble, could have unintended consequences.\2\ 
Where well sites have a compressor that collects flash gas from a low 
pressure separator or a vapor recovery unit that collects flash gas 
from storage vessels, there are certain safety measures put in place in 
the event these compressors unexpectedly go offline. Depending on the 
remoteness of the well site, one safety measure available is to 
automatically shut in the well to prevent the release of gas from 
pressure relief valves. In these, and other similar emergency shut-in 
situations, the equipment is not depressurized so the well can be 
brought back into production as soon as possible. However, by requiring 
completion of the delayed repair during such shut-in events, equipment 
at this well site that have components placed on delayed repair would 
have to be depressurized and blown down, resulting in emissions that 
would not have occurred except for the delayed repair requirement and 
could be higher than the emissions from continuing to delay repair.
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    \2\ See Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2010-0505-12446.
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    Similar scenarios were provided by the commenters for compressor 
stations, where changes in horsepower demand, upsets of the compressor 
unit or the station, lightning strikes, power loss, floods, unplanned 
maintenance or repairs of a pipeline, fire, third-party damage, or 
instrumentation outages can result in unplanned or emergency blowdowns 
of certain equipment at a compressor station.\3\ When the compressor 
station is not operating, gas will continue to enter gathering lines 
until upstream wells are routed to other compressor stations. This gas 
must be vented or flared to prevent overpressurization of the gathering 
lines. Repairs can require skilled labor crews and custom fabricated 
parts, both of which must be scheduled and ordered in advance.\4\ Given 
the unpredictability of these unplanned or emergency events, gas may 
need to be vented or flared for an extended period of time while the 
owner or operator organized completion of delayed repairs and before 
the compressor station is brought back online, thereby creating 
emissions that would not have occurred except for the delayed repair 
requirement and could be higher than the emissions from continuing to 
delay repair. For these reasons, not requiring repair during unplanned 
or emergency vent blowdowns would limit excess emissions from avoidable 
blowdowns.
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    \3\ See Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2010-0505-12447.
    \4\ See Docket ID Nos. EPA-HQ-OAR-2010-0505-12421, EPA-HQ-OAR-
2010-0505-12424, EPA-HQ-OAR-2010-0505-12430, EPA-HQ-OAR-2010-0505-
12436, EPA-HQ-OAR-2010-0505-12446, EPA-HQ-OAR-2010-0505-12447, and 
EPA-HQ-OAR-2010-0505-12454.
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    In addition to emissions from avoidable blowdowns described above, 
several commenters raised concerns about extended gas service 
disruption.\5\ For example, many natural gas transmission pipelines are 
operating year-round at or near capacity, with little redundancy in the 
supply chain. Further, some regions do not have access to alternate gas 
supplies. As we have learned, the requirement for delayed repairs 
during unplanned or emergency blowdowns can result in the unintended 
consequence of forcing owners or operators to choose between meeting 
contractual commitments governed by the Federal Energy Regulatory 
Commission or complying with leak repair requirements.\6\ The 
disruption to service can also result in loss of home heating during 
the winter and the loss of natural gas supply to power plants during 
periods when electricity demands are higher. This is clearly an 
unintended and undesirable result and should, therefore, be avoided, as 
demonstrated by the leak repair requirement by the California Air 
Resource Board (CARB).\7\ We note that CARB's leak repair requirement, 
which CARB commented as being more stringent than the EPA's leak repair 
requirement in the 2016 Rule, does not require repair, if it would 
disrupt service.
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    \5\ See Docket ID Nos. EPA-HQ-OAR-2010-0505-12430, EPA-HQ-OAR-
2010-0505-12436, EPA-HQ-OAR-2010-0505-12446, EPA-HQ-OAR-2010-0505-
12447, and EPA-HQ-OAR-2010-0505-12454.
    \6\ See Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2010-0505-12447.
    \7\ Greenhouse Gas Emission Standards for Crude Oil and Natural 
Gas Facilities, section 95669, California Code of Regulations, Title 
17, Division 3, Chapter 1, Subchapter 10 Climate Change, Article 4, 
Subarticle 13. Effective date October 1, 2017. This regulation has a 
phase-in period from January 1, 2018 to December 31, 2019, where 
fugitive emissions are defined as a leak of 10,000 parts per million 
(ppm) or greater using EPA Method 21 on a quarterly monitoring 
frequency. After January 1, 2020, that leak definition decreases to 
1,000 ppm on the same monitoring frequency.
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    After examining the comments and supporting data on this issue, the 
EPA agrees with the commenters that delayed repairs should not be 
required during an unscheduled or emergency shutdown, shut-in, or vent 
blowdown due to the potential unintended consequences of further 
increasing the emissions, in addition to disruption of services. The 
EPA further concludes that this issue must be addressed immediately to 
avoid these unintended consequences. Because the proposed 2-year stay 
or proposed phase-in would offer only a temporary relief from this 
requirement, which the EPA has already concluded to be unacceptable, 
the EPA is not finalizing a stay or phase-in of this requirement. 
Instead, the EPA is taking final action to amend the delayed repair 
requirement to remove the terms ``unplanned'' and ``emergency'' from 
the list of events that would require completion of delayed repairs.

B. Alaskan North Slope

    We are finalizing amendments to the fugitive emission monitoring 
requirements for well sites located on the Alaskan North Slope.\8\ New 
well sites that startup production between September and March must 
conduct initial monitoring within 6 months of the startup of production 
\9\ or by June 30, whichever is later. Well sites that startup 
production between April and August must continue to meet the 60-day 
initial monitoring requirement in the 2016 Rule. Similarly, well sites 
that are modified between September and March must conduct initial 
monitoring within 6 months of the first day of production for each 
collection of fugitive emissions components or by June 30, whichever is 
later. Further, all well sites located on the Alaskan North Slope that 
are subject to the fugitive emissions requirements must conduct annual 
monitoring, instead of the semiannual monitoring required for other 
well sites. Subsequent annual monitoring must be conducted at least 9 
months apart, but no more than 12 months apart. The specific repair, 
recordkeeping, and reporting requirements remain unchanged from the 
2016 Rule, except as discussed in section IV.A of this preamble.
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    \8\ Alaskan North Slope is defined in 40 CFR 60.5430a as.
    \9\ Startup of production is defined in 40 CFR 60.5430a as.
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    Under the 2016 Rule, the initial monitoring survey of fugitive 
emissions components at a new well site must be conducted within 60 
days of startup of production at the new well site. For a collection of 
modified fugitive emissions components, the initial monitoring survey 
must be conducted within 60 days of production after the modification. 
The rule requires

[[Page 10632]]

semiannual monitoring thereafter. In response to our NODA soliciting 
additional comments and information on implementation challenges, the 
EPA received comments expressing immediate concerns with the timing for 
conducting fugitive emissions monitoring at well sites on the Alaskan 
North Slope. The commenters noted that these concerns were raised in 
comments on the proposed rule in 2015, in addition to petitions for 
reconsideration following promulgation of the 2016 Rule. The commenters 
cautioned that the monitoring technology specified in the 2016 Rule 
(i.e., optical gas imaging (OGI) and the instruments for EPA Method 21) 
cannot reliably detect methane emissions at well sites on the Alaskan 
North Slope for a significant portion of the year due to the lengthy 
period of extreme cold temperatures.\10\ According to manufacturer 
specifications, OGI cameras, which the EPA identified in the 2016 Rule 
as the BSER for monitoring fugitive emissions at well sites, are not 
designed to operate at temperatures below 
-4[emsp14][deg]F,\11\ and the monitoring instruments for EPA 
Method 21, which the 2016 Rule provides as an alternative to OGI, are 
not designed to operate below +14[emsp14][deg]F.\12\ One commenter 
provided data, and the EPA confirmed with its own analysis, that 
temperatures below 0 \0\F are a common occurrence, on the Alaskan North 
Slope between November and April.\13\ In light of the above, there is 
no assurance that the initial and semiannual monitoring that must occur 
during that period of time are technically feasible.
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    \10\ See Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2010-0505-12434.
    \11\ See FLIR Systems, Inc. product specifications for GF300/320 
model OGI cameras at http://www.flir.com/ogi/display/?id=55671.
    \12\ See Thermo Fisher Scientific product specification for TVA-
2020 at https://assets.thermofisher.com/TFS-Assets/LSG/Specification-Sheets/EPM-TVA2020.pdf.
    \13\ See information on average hourly temperatures from January 
2010 to January 2018 at the weather station located at Deadhorse 
Alpine Airstrip, Alaska. Obtained from the National Oceanic and 
Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)'s National Centers for 
Environmental Information and summarized in Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-
OAR-2010-0505.
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    During the rulemaking for the 2016 Rule, in response to comments 
expressing concerns with cold temperatures in several regions, the EPA 
had attempted to address the issue by providing additional flexibility 
in the form of allowing consecutive semiannual events to take place 
every 4 to 6 months. However, as commenters on the NODA correctly 
observed, the EPA did not address the issue as it relates to initial 
monitoring at well sites on the Alaskan North Slope; further, even with 
the additional flexibility, semiannual monitoring at well sites located 
on the Alaskan North Slope could still be required at a time when the 
temperature is below the operating temperature of the monitoring 
instruments.
    In light of the technical feasibility issue discussed previously, 
the EPA concludes that the current fugitive emissions monitoring 
frequencies for well sites do not reflect the BSER for monitoring 
fugitive emissions components at well sites on the Alaskan North Slope, 
and that a different fugitive emissions monitoring schedule is 
warranted for well sites located on the Alaskan North Slope. 
Specifically, the EPA has amended the 2016 Rule to require that new or 
modified well sites that startup production between September and March 
conduct initial monitoring within 6 months of the startup of production 
or by June 30, whichever is later. We believe that the amendment would 
assure that initial monitoring take place when both OGI and EPA Method 
21 are operable.
    In addition, the EPA is amending the 2016 Rule to require annual 
(instead of semiannual) monitoring of fugitive emissions at well sites 
on the Alaskan North Slope. During the rulemaking for the 2016 Rule, 
the EPA had evaluated annual monitoring at well sites and concluded 
that semiannual monitoring reflected the BSER for detecting fugitive 
emissions at well sites. During the rulemaking for the 2016 Rule, we 
stated in response to a comment that there would be months during the 
semiannual monitoring periods when the OGI camera could work 
effectively.\14\ However, after reconsidering the information provided 
by commenters and confirmed by the EPA, we now conclude that monitoring 
may not be technically feasible on the Alaskan North Slope for close to 
6 consecutive months (November through April) due to the extreme cold 
temperatures that could render the monitoring instruments inoperable. 
Therefore, the EPA now concludes that annual monitoring more accurately 
reflects the BSER for monitoring fugitive emissions at well sites on 
the Alaskan North Slope because of the infeasibility of semiannual 
monitoring. The impracticability is demonstrated by the following 
example. If initial monitoring were conducted in August, the first 
semiannual monitoring would be required between December and February. 
Based on average temperatures during those months, it is unlikely that 
semiannual monitoring would be possible in this window. Further, in 
order for well sites on the Alaskan North Slope to conduct semiannual 
monitoring, the monitoring events would be limited to April/May and 
October/November, which creates additional difficulties with scheduling 
monitoring, repairs, and resurveys within the required periods.
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    \14\ See Chapter 4 of the EPA's Responses to Public Comments, 
page 4-273 located at Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2010-0505-7632.
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    The EPA concludes that the Alaskan North Slope issue must be 
addressed immediately given that we are currently well into the cold 
weather months. Because both the proposed 2-year stay and the 
suggestion that we extend the phase-in period for the fugitive 
emissions requirements would offer only temporary relief from the 
initial and subsequent monitoring requirements at well sites, which the 
EPA has already concluded to be inappropriate for the reasons stated 
above, the EPA is not finalizing a stay or a longer phase-in of these 
requirements. Rather, the EPA is taking final action to amend the 2016 
Rule to provide a separate fugitive emissions monitoring schedule for 
well sites located on the Alaskan North Slope to accommodate its arctic 
climate.

V. Summary of Significant Comments and Responses

    The EPA received a large number of comments covering a wide range 
of topics in response to our June 16, 2017, proposal and November 8, 
2017, NODA. As discussed in sections II and IV of this preamble, the 
EPA is still in the process of reviewing many of these comments. As 
noted previously, however, in the course of this review, the EPA has 
identified two specific provisions of the fugitive emissions 
requirements in the 2016 Rule that pose significant and immediate 
compliance concerns, and EPA is taking final action here to make 
targeted amendments to the 2016 Rule to address these two concerns. The 
Agency is still evaluating comments related to other issues raised in 
the proposal and the NODA and is not taking final action with respect 
to those issues at this time. Accordingly, we are not responding to 
those comments at this time. This section summarizes the significant 
comments relevant to the amendments in this final action, and our 
response to those comments.

A. The EPA's Legal Authority

    The EPA received numerous comments on the legal authorities for its 
proposal to stay certain requirements of the 2016 Rule for 2 years and 
for the alternative suggestion of providing

[[Page 10633]]

longer phase-in periods for those requirements. Because this final rule 
does not involve staying or phasing in any requirement in the 2016 
Rule, comments specific to the proposed stay and phase-in are deemed 
outside of the scope of this final action. The EPA is, therefore, not 
responding to these comments and is not addressing whether such 
authority exists.
    This final rule amends two aspects of the fugitive emissions 
requirements in the 2016 Rule, which was promulgated pursuant to the 
EPA's authority to set NSPS standards pursuant to CAA section 111(b) 
according to the procedures under CAA section 307(d). Summarized below 
are significant comments on the EPA's authority under CAA sections 
111(b) and 307(d) to amend a previously promulgated NSPS.
    Comment: The EPA received general comments on the EPA's legal 
authority to amend the 2016 Rule under CAA section 111. One commenter 
stated that any revisions to the 2016 Rule must follow the substantive 
and procedural requirements found in CAA section 111 and 307(d).\15\ In 
order the meet these requirements and amend the NSPS, the commenter 
stated that the EPA must justify any revisions as being consistent with 
the statutory mandate, explain the basis for the revision (including 
supporting record), and follow the procedures established in CAA 
section 111(b)(1)(B), 42 U.S.C. 7411(b)(1)(B).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \15\ See Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2010-0505-12451.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The commenters further described the statute's procedural 
requirements, such as a thorough review of specific factors, such as 
whether the standard reflects BSER, ``the cost of those standards, any 
resulting nonair quality health and environmental impacts, energy 
requirements, the amount of air pollution reduced by the standards, and 
how the standards may drive technological innovation.'' \16\ The 
commenter stated that a revision to the compliance date (as proposed) 
would require a factual analysis that demonstrated the new compliance 
date reflected in the emission reductions achievable through the BSER. 
Further, the commenter stated that standards must be promulgated that 
reflect ``improved design and operational advance'' that may not yet be 
realized by industry, ``so long as there is substantial evidence that 
such improvements are feasible and will produce the improved 
performance necessary to meet the standard.'' \17\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \16\ See 80 FR 64510, 64538 (October 23, 2015) (quoting Sierra 
Club v. Costle, 657 F.2d 298, 326, 347 (D.C. Cir. 1981)). See also 
42 U.S.C. 7411(a)(1), (b)(1)(B), (h)(1).
    \17\ See Sierra Club v. Costle 657 F.2d at 364 and Portland 
Cement Ass'n v. EPA, 665 F.3d 177, 190 (D.C. Cir. 2011).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The commenters further discussed the holding in the National 
Association of Home Builders case in 2012. ``The fact that the original 
[rule] was consistent with congressional intent is irrelevant as long 
as the amended rule is also `permissible under the statute.' '' \18\ In 
that case, the petitioners acknowledged that, although they believed 
the original rule was better, the amended rule was permissible. Oral 
Arg. Recording at 17:40-:43. As Fox made clear, that ``suffices'' as 
far as the court is concerned. Fox, 556 U.S. at 515. Further, as Fox 
noted, the Supreme Court has ``neither held nor implied that every 
agency action representing a policy change must be justified by reasons 
more substantial than those required to adopt a policy in first 
instance.'' Fox, 556 U.S. at 514 (citing 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)). To the 
contrary, according to the commenters, the State Farm case affirmed 
that ``[a]n agency's view of what is in the public interest may change, 
either with or without a change in circumstances.'' State Farm, 463 
U.S. at 57 (quoting Greater Boston Television Corp. v. FCC, 444 F.2d 
841, 852 (D.C. Cir.1970)); see Am. Trucking Ass'ns v. Atchison, Topeka 
& Santa Fe Ry. Co., et al., 387 U.S. 397, 416 (1967) (declaring that an 
agency, ``in light of reconsideration of the relevant facts and its 
mandate, may alter its past interpretation and overturn past 
administrative rulings''). Nat'l Ass'n of Home Builders, 682 F.3d at 
1037.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \18\ Nat'l Ass'n of Home Builders, et al., v. EPA, 682 F.3d 
1032, 1037 (citing Fox, 556 U.S. at 515).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Response: The EPA agrees with the comment that it has authority to 
amend an NSPS when it demonstrates that such revision is consistent 
with the mandate of section 111(b) of the CAA and reasonably explain 
the basis for the revision based on the record before the Agency, as 
required by section 307(d) of the CAA. The EPA has done so in this 
final action and need not address at this time if this is the sole 
source of authority that the EPA may have to amend or stay an NSPS.
    A standard of performance promulgated under section 111(b) of the 
CAA must reflect the BSER for that emission source. In the 2016 Rule, 
the EPA conducted BSER analyses for reducing fugitive emissions at well 
sites and compressor stations, which resulted in the work practice 
standards promulgated in that rule. As explained below in this section 
and elsewhere in this notice, in the process of the current rulemaking, 
the EPA has identified two narrow provisions of the fugitive emissions 
requirements that pose immediate compliance concerns. The first issue 
concerns the potential that the current requirements for delayed 
repairs could result in an increase (instead of a reduction) of 
emissions and service disruption. The other issue concerns the 
technical feasibility of complying with the timeframe specified in the 
2016 Rule for monitoring fugitive emissions at well sites in the 
Alaskan North Slope due to its extreme cold temperature for a lengthy 
period of time, which could render the monitoring instrument 
inoperable. After examining the comments and information on these two 
specific concerns, we conclude that the BSER and the resulting fugitive 
emissions requirements in the 2016 Rule did not adequately address 
these two compliance concerns and that revision is warranted. The 
revision is based on comments, data, and other information submitted 
during the rulemaking process, as well as our own analyses, all of 
which can be found in Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2010-0505. A more 
detailed discussion of our revised analyses and amendment can be found 
below in this section as well as in section IV of this preamble.

B. Delayed Repairs

    Comment: Twelve commenters provided information related to the 
requirements for delayed repairs in 40 CFR part 60, subpart OOOOa. Ten 
commenters \19\ supported a stay and/or suggested specific changes to 
the regulation to address repairs during unplanned and emergency vent 
blowdowns, while two commenters \20\ opposed any changes to the 
requirement for delayed repairs.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \19\ See Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2010-0505-12417, Docket ID No. 
EPA-HQ-OAR-2010-0505-12421, Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2010-0505-
12422, Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2010-0505-12424, Docket ID No. EPA-
HQ-OAR-2010-0505-12430, Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2010-0505-12436, 
Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2010-0505-12446, Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-
2010-0505-12447, Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2010-0505-12454, and 
Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2010-0505-12456.
    \20\ See Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2010-0505-12444, Docket ID No. 
EPA-HQ-OAR-2010-0505-12451 (part 1 of comments), and Docket ID No. 
EPA-HQ-OAR-2010-0505-12452 (part 2 of comments).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The commenters that supported changes reiterated comments contained 
in their petitions for reconsideration following the promulgation of 
the 2016

[[Page 10634]]

Rule. The commenters stated that by requiring repairs during unplanned 
or emergency events, the actual emissions could be higher than the 
emissions of the delayed repair for that component. For instance, 
requiring repairs during unplanned or emergency events may require 
venting of equipment that is not being repaired and that would not 
otherwise be vented during that shutdown, potentially resulting in 
emissions much larger than those of the leak itself. Further, the 
commenters asserted that prolonged shutdowns may be encountered while 
repairs are made, which would affect both upstream and downstream 
users. Specifically, these repairs could result in the need to vent or 
flare gas upstream at a production facility if the midstream compressor 
station has to remain offline. Further, gas supply could be limited for 
downstream users, causing critical issues with the provision of power 
or heat to end users reliance on natural gas.
    One commenter \21\ provided specific data regarding components 
monitored under the fugitive program in 40 CFR part 60, subpart OOOOa. 
The commenter references an evaluation performed on 22 of their 
compressor stations. This evaluation showed that 95-percent of all 
leaks (345 of 362 leaks) occurring at these stations between 2015 and 
2017 were repaired within 30 days, leaving only 5-percent to be placed 
on a delayed repair. When repair was delayed, most repairs were 
completed within 90 days of leak detection. Two commenters \22\ 
suggested specific edits to the regulation. Specifically, these edits 
remove reference to the requirement for repairs to be completed during 
unscheduled, planned, or emergency vent blowdowns and limits repairs at 
compressor stations to scheduled shutdowns for maintenance. Further, 
these commenters suggested additional language to require additional 
justification for delaying repairs beyond a shutdown, requiring 
Administrator approval on a case-by-case basis. Additional comments and 
information are discussed in section IV of this preamble.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \21\ See Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2010-0505-12430.
    \22\ See Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2010-0505-12421 and Docket ID 
No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2010-0505-12447.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    In contrast, the two commenters that opposed changes to the delayed 
repair requirements cited a lack of information to support either a 
stay or compliance deadline extension. One commenter \23\ suggests that 
since the leaks for which repairs are delayed were found prior to any 
shutdown (whether planned or not), the company had time to make 
arrangements to obtain replacement parts; thus, allowing repair during 
that next shutdown event. Further, the commenter asserted that the EPA 
has provided no data to demonstrate why a stay is necessary for the 
entire fugitive program to accommodate such a small set of leaks given 
that the data the EPA does have suggests the majority of leaks are 
repaired at the time of the monitoring survey. Another commenter \24\ 
asserted that the requirement for delayed repairs is more accommodating 
than it needs to be when compared to the requirements found in 
California's rule. The commenter explained, ``California's regulation 
requires leaks to be repaired within 14 calendar days, except for leaks 
involving critical components, which must be repaired by the end of the 
next process shutdown or within 12 months, whichever is sooner.''
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \23\ See Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2010-0505-12451 (part 1 of 
comments) and Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2010-0505-12452 (part 2 of 
comments).
    \24\ See Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2010-0505-12444.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Response: The EPA is amending the requirements for delayed repair 
in this final action. Specifically, the EPA is removing the terms 
``unplanned'' and ``emergency,'' used in reference to vent blowdowns 
and added the term ``scheduled'' before the list of scenarios when 
delayed repair must be completed. As several commenters noted and as 
discussed in section IV.A of this preamble, completion of repair during 
an unscheduled or emergency event could require a blowdown of equipment 
that was not otherwise necessary in order to repair components on 
delayed repair. Due to the potential for increasing emissions, the 
current requirements for delayed repair do not reflect the BSER for 
addressing fugitive emissions at well sites and compressor stations. In 
addition, as discussed in section IV.A of this preamble, not requiring 
delayed repair during unscheduled vent blowdowns would avoid the 
potential of service disruption. As mentioned in section IV.A of this 
preamble, we note that under CARB's leak repair requirements,\25\ 
delayed repair is permitted if gas service is critical to public gas 
system operation; thereby, highlighting the importance of not 
disrupting gas service. According to the data received, only around 5-
percent of leaks are placed on delay for repair. Further, unscheduled 
or emergency vent blowdowns are but one of many scenarios where delayed 
repair must be completed. Owners or operators are still required to 
complete repairs on components during the next scheduled compressor 
station shutdown, well shutdown, well shut-in, after a planned vent 
blowdown, or within 2 years, whichever is earlier. Accordingly, the 
requirement for delayed repair, as amended, still requires that repairs 
occur as soon as possible while reducing the potential for unintended 
emissions releases and service disruptions.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \25\ Greenhouse Gas Emission Standards for Crude Oil and Natural 
Gas Facilities, section 95669, California Code of Regulations, Title 
17, Division 3, Chapter 1, Subchapter 10 Climate Change, Article 4, 
Subarticle 13. Effective date October 1, 2017.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    As discussed earlier, this issue must be addressed immediately to 
avoid potentially increasing emissions and/or disrupting gas supply. 
The EPA acknowledges that there are other comments concerning other 
aspects of the requirements for delayed repair in the fugitive 
emissions requirements, and that the EPA continues to evaluate these 
comments. Should any of these comments warrant additional changes to 
the fugitive requirements, the EPA intends to address them separately.

C. Alaskan North Slope

    Comment: Three commenters \26\ provided comments related to 
compliance with the fugitive emissions monitoring requirements in 
extreme cold weather conditions. These comments related to the 
limitations of the monitoring technologies and worker safety concerns. 
The commenters stated that the EPA should exempt well sites and 
compressor stations located on the Alaskan North Slope from the 
fugitive emissions monitoring requirements. At a minimum, two 
commenters stated that the EPA should stay or extend the compliance 
deadline for initial monitoring at these well sites. Additionally, two 
commenters stated that extreme cold weather conditions can occur 
outside of the Alaskan North Slope and these commenters requested 
similar stays or extensions of the compliance deadlines for any 
location experiencing these conditions. The commenters reiterated 
comments submitted in the 2015 proposal and subsequent petitions for 
reconsideration. Specifically, the commenters stated the technological 
limitations and worker safety considerations in the Arctic

[[Page 10635]]

environment warrant an exemption from monitoring.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \26\ See Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2010-0505-12434, Docket ID No. 
EPA-HQ-OAR-2010-0505-12436, and Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2010-0505-
12446.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    One commenter provided manufacturer specifications for three of the 
commonly used monitoring instruments (OGI camera, toxic vapor analyzer 
(TVA), and multi gas monitors).\27\ The commenter noted that the 
specifications indicate the lowest operating temperature for any of the 
instruments is -4[emsp14][deg]F.\28\ This commenter further 
provided average hourly temperature by month for the years 2012 through 
2014. This data indicated that average hourly temperatures on the 
Alaskan North Slope were below -4[emsp14][deg]F for 
approximately 5 months (December through April). Three commenters 
stated that while there is a waiver from quarterly monitoring at 
compressor stations when average temperatures are below 0 [deg]F for 2 
consecutive months, there is no similar waiver for semiannual 
monitoring well sites, nor a waiver from initial monitoring at either 
well sites or compressor stations. The commenters, therefore, stated 
the combination of average hourly temperatures on the Alaskan North 
Slope and the operating limitations of the monitoring instruments pose 
immediate compliance implications.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \27\ See Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2010-0505-12434.
    \28\ See FLIR Systems, Inc. Product specifications for GF300/320 
model OGI cameras at http://www.flir.com/ogi/display/?id=55671.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Finally, two of the commenters stated that the EPA should exempt 
well sites and compressor stations located on the Alaskan North Slope 
from fugitive emissions monitoring similar to the exemptions from leak 
detection and repair at natural gas processing plants provided in NSPS 
OOOO and OOOOa.\29\ These commenters stated the reasons for applying an 
exemption to the natural gas processing plants are also valid for well 
sites and compressor stations.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \29\ See Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2010-0505-12434 and Docket ID 
No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2010-0505-12446.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Response: The EPA agrees with the commenters that available 
monitoring technologies (OGI and, for EPA Method 21, TVA and multi gas 
meters) are not designed to operate below -4[emsp14] [deg]F 
or \+\14[emsp14] [deg]F, respectively.\30\ In addition to the 
information provided by the commenters, information from the NOAA 
demonstrate average temperatures on the Alaskan North Slope make it 
technically infeasible to perform monitoring during a nearly 6-month 
period.\31\ As we are already well within this period, the EPA must act 
immediately to avoid requiring fugitive emissions monitoring at well 
sites located on the Alaskan North Slope when the average temperature 
there is below the operating temperature of any of the available 
monitoring instruments. Therefore, the EPA is amending 40 CFR part 60, 
subpart OOOOa, to extend the initial monitoring deadline and allow 
annual fugitive emissions monitoring at well sites located on the 
Alaskan North Slope. The EPA is not amending 40 CFR part 60, subpart 
OOOOa, fugitive emissions monitoring requirements for compressor 
stations located on the Alaskan North Slope because the commenters have 
stated there are no compressor stations currently subject to 40 CFR 
part 60, subpart OOOOa; therefore, there is no immediate compliance 
concern to address for these requirements at this time.\32\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \30\ See FLIR Systems, Inc. product specifications for GF300/320 
model OGI cameras at http://www.flir.com/ogi/display/?id=55671 and 
Thermo Fisher Scientific product specification for TVA-2020 at 
https://assets.thermofisher.com/TFS-Assets/LSG/Specification-Sheets/EPM-TVA2020.pdf.
    \31\ See information on average hourly temperatures from January 
2010 to January 2018 at the weather station located at Deadhorse 
Alpine Airstrip, Alaska. Obtained from NOAA's National Centers for 
Environmental Information and summarized in Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-
OAR-2010-0505.
    \32\ See ``Discussion of Comment Submitted on the NODA with 
ConocoPhillips Alaska, Inc.'' located at Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-
2010-0505.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    As the commenters noted, the issues with conducting fugitive 
emissions monitoring at well sites located on the Alaskan North Slope 
were raised in the comments on the proposed 40 CFR part 60, subpart 
OOOOa. In the EPA's responses to public comments on this issue, the EPA 
stated that specific flexibilities were added to the fugitive emissions 
monitoring program to avoid potential compliance concerns on the 
Alaskan North Slope. Specifically, the repair deadline was extended 
from 15 to 30 days, with an additional 30 days to complete the resurvey 
after repair; semiannual monitoring at well sites is allowed every 4 to 
6 months; when average temperatures are below 0 [deg]F for 2 
consecutive months, quarterly monitoring is waived at compressor 
stations, and Method 21 was added as an alternative method for leak 
detection and resurvey.\33\ As one commenter noted, the EPA recognized 
the challenges with monitoring instrument operation at low temperatures 
for compressor stations, but did not extend a similar waiver from 
monitoring for well sites.\34\ Further, it is not clear that the 
flexibilities identified above assure that monitoring would not be 
required when the temperature on the Alaskan North Slope is below the 
operating temperature of the monitoring instrument. The commenters 
reiterated this concern in the comments on the proposed stay and NODA.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \33\ See ``EPA's Responses to Public Comments,'' Chapter 4, 
pages 4-267, 4-268, 4-273, and 4-276. https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=EPA-HQ-OAR-2010-0505-7632.
    \34\ See Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2010-0505-12446.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    We revisited the issue and reviewed both the relevant record for 
the 2016 Rule as well as additional information received subsequent to 
the rulemaking. Based on this evaluation, we recognized that a separate 
initial monitoring requirement was necessary for well sites that 
startup production during the months when it may be technically 
infeasible to meet the 60-day initial monitoring requirement.
    For instance, we examined the scenario of a new well starting 
production in September. Under the current requirements, the initial 
monitoring survey would be required within 60 days of the startup of 
production. This would put the deadline in October or November, 
depending on when the well started producing in September.\35\ The EPA 
recognized from the data provided that these 2 months may have issues 
with the feasibility of completing monitoring due to changing weather 
conditions moving into winter. If we set a deadline for initial 
monitoring 6 months from startup of production, then monitoring would 
be required by March, when temperatures are still not warm enough for 
instrument operation. While the average temperatures may be 
sufficiently warm starting in the middle of spring, information 
discussed in the Response to Comments document raised concerns with 
melting snow, flooding, and transportation issues during this time.\36\ 
Additionally, we are concerned with potentially constraining affected 
sources' ability to schedule and acquire requisite personnel and 
equipment if we were to require all well sites that start production 
between September and March to conduct initial monitoring in April or 
May. These well sites would forever be locked into performing both 
initial and all subsequent monitoring at the same time each year. We do 
not believe that it is appropriate to place such constraint on the well 
site's ability to schedule monitoring events. Based on average 
temperatures, we are confident that monitoring can occur during the

[[Page 10636]]

summer months. Therefore, we have amended the 2016 Rule to require 
that, for each new or modified well site located on the Alaskan North 
Slope that starts production between September and March, the owner or 
operator has 6 months, or until June 30, whichever is later, to 
complete initial monitoring of the fugitive emissions components. The 
amendments, which provide both a time frame and specific date, would 
require monitoring as soon as feasible while avoiding the concerns 
described above. For each new or modified well site located on the 
Alaskan North Slope that starts production between September and March, 
the owner or operator has 6 months, or until June 30, whichever is 
later to complete initial monitoring of the fugitive emissions 
components.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \35\ Similar issues are realized by well sites starting up 
between October and March, such as extreme low temperatures, 
concerns with snow melt and flooding, and logistical issues 
associated with schedule flexibility.
    \36\ See ``EPA's Responses to Public Comments,'' Chapter 4, page 
4-268. https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=EPA-HQ-OAR-2010-0505-7632.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The EPA agrees with the commenters that there are immediate 
compliance concerns due to the operating limitations of monitoring 
instruments. Therefore, we are finalizing an amendment to the timeframe 
for the fugitive emission monitoring program for well sites located on 
the Alaskan North Slope. Specifically, owners or operators must meet 
the initial compliance deadline of 60 days from the startup of 
production, unless the well site starts production between September 
and March. Those well sites that startup production between September 
and March must complete initial monitoring within 6 months of startup 
of production or by June 30, whichever is later. Additionally, owners 
or operators must perform annual monitoring for fugitive emissions, 
following the initial monitoring survey at all affected well sites 
located on the Alaskan North Slope, regardless of the startup date. 
Subsequent monitoring surveys must occur at least every 12 months, with 
consecutive monitoring surveys conducted at least 9 months apart. The 
requirements for repair, recordkeeping, and reporting remain the same 
as those in the 2016 Rule. Recognizing there are several months in 
which temperatures are within the operating temperature range for the 
monitoring instruments, the EPA concludes owners or operators have 
enough flexibility to complete monitoring surveys in this timeframe. 
Any further amendments for the Alaskan North Slope will be addressed 
separately. This amendment only applies at well sites located on the 
Alaskan North Slope. All other well sites must continue to comply with 
the initial, semiannual, or quarterly monitoring requirements, as 
appropriate.
    With respect to comments on exempting facilities located on the 
Alaskan North Slope from fugitive monitoring requirements, changes to 
low temperature waivers, or any other concerns raised by the commenters 
related to cold weather, addressing them will likely require additional 
information and analysis. The EPA will continue evaluating these 
comments.

VI. Impacts of the Final Amendments

    Although there will be cost savings related to not requiring 
delayed repairs during unscheduled or emergency events, as well as 
forgone benefits related to the reductions of fugitive emissions that 
might have occurred following these repairs, the EPA does not have cost 
or economic data related to this provision because of the unplanned 
nature of these events. Therefore, we are unable to determine the cost 
savings or forgone benefits of amending the requirements for delayed 
repair requirement related to unscheduled or emergency events.
    In order to determine the impacts of the amendments to the fugitive 
emissions requirements for well sites located on the Alaskan North 
Slope, we used the same assumptions and methods used to estimate 
impacts of the 2016 Rule. Specifically, we used the number of affected 
sources located on the Alaskan North Slope, and the cost and emission 
reductions estimated for well sites at semiannual and annual fugitive 
monitoring frequencies that were assumed in the 2016 Rule. The cost 
savings and emission reductions estimated as a result of these 
amendments are presented in Tables 2 and 3, respectively. For more 
information on the assumptions used in this analysis, as well as the 
costs and emission reductions for fugitive emissions requirements at 
well sites, see the Background Technical Support Document for the Final 
New Source Performance Standards 40 CFR part 60, subpart OOOOa (TSD) 
located at Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2010-0505-7631. Note that the costs 
in the TSD are in 2012 dollar years, and the cost savings presented 
here are in 2016 dollar years. The amended fugitive monitoring 
requirements for well sites located on the Alaskan North Slope will 
save approximately $24,000 per year in compliance costs, after 
accounting for forgone natural gas recovery. This amendment will also 
result in approximately 34 short tons of forgone methane emission 
reductions, or 772 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2E).

                       Table 2--Estimated Cost Savings of the Amended Fugitive Monitoring Requirements on the Alaskan North Slope
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                      Compliance cost savings              Total annualized cost savings   Total annualized cost savings
                                         ------------------------------------------------              (3%)                            (7%)
                                                              Annual          Forgone    ---------------------------------------------------------------
                                           Capital cost   operating cost      product       W/o product      W/Product      W/o product      W/Product
                                              savings         savings        recovery        recovery        recovery        recovery        recovery
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
NG Well Pads............................          $1,300         $29,000          $6,700         $29,000         $22,000         $29,000         $22,000
Oil Well Pads...........................             110           2,400             210           2,400           2,200           2,400           2,200
                                         ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Total...............................           1,400          31,000           6,900          31,000          24,000          31,000          24,000
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


                Table 3--Estimated Forgone Emission Reductions of the Amended Fugitive Monitoring Requirements on the Alaskan North Slope
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                            Forgone emission reductions                       Forgone
                                                             Affected    ----------------------------------------------------------------   natural gas
                                                           source count   Methane (short                                                   savings (Mcf
                                                                             tpy \1\)        VOC (tpy)       HAP (tpy)      CO2E (tpy)         \2\)
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
NG Well Pads............................................              30              33               9               0             748           1,911

[[Page 10637]]

 
Oil Well Pads...........................................               3               1               0               0              24              61
                                                         -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Total...............................................              33              34               9               0             772           1,972
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ tons per year.
\2\ thousand cubic feet.

VII. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews

    Additional information about these statutes and Executive Orders 
can be found at http://www2.epa.gov/laws-regulations/laws-and-executive-orders.

A. Executive Order 12866: Regulatory Planning and Review and Executive 
Order 13563: Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review

    This action is not a significant regulatory action and was, 
therefore, not submitted to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) 
for review.

B. Executive Order 13771: Reducing Regulations and Controlling 
Regulatory Costs

    This action is considered an Executive Order 13771 deregulatory 
action. This final rule provides meaningful burden reduction by 
amending the requirement that components on a delayed repair must 
conduct repairs during unscheduled or emergency vent blowdowns, and 
adding flexibilities for the monitoring survey requirements for well 
sites located on the Alaskan North Slope.

C. Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA)

    This action does not impose any new information collection burden 
under the PRA. The information collection requirements in the final 40 
CFR part 60, subpart OOOOa have been submitted for approval to the OMB 
under the PRA. The Information Collection Request (ICR) document 
prepared by the EPA has been assigned EPA ICR 2523.01. This action does 
not result in changes to the submitted ICR for 40 CFR part 60, subpart 
OOOOa, so the information collection estimates of project cost and hour 
burdens have not been revised.

D. Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA)

    I certify that this action will not have a significant economic 
impact on a substantial number of small entities under the RFA. In 
making this determination, the impact of concern is any significant 
adverse economic impact on small entities. An Agency may certify that a 
rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial 
number of small entities if the rule relieves regulatory burden, has no 
net burden, or otherwise has a positive economic effect on the small 
entities subject to the rule. This action finalizes amendments for two 
specific requirements in the 2016 Rule. This action will not increase 
the burden on small entities subject to this rule. The EPA prepared a 
final RFA analysis for the 2016 Rule, which is available as part of the 
Regulatory Impact Analysis in the docket at Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-
2010-0505-7630. We have, therefore, concluded that this action will 
have no net regulatory burden for all directly regulated small 
entities.

E. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA)

    This action does not contain any unfunded mandate as described in 
UMRA, 2 U.S.C. 1531-1538, and does not significantly or uniquely affect 
small governments. The action imposes no enforceable duty on any state, 
local, or tribal governments or the private sector.

F. Executive Order 13132: Federalism

    This action does not have federalism implications. It will not have 
substantial direct effects on the states, on the relationship between 
the national government and the states, or on the distribution of power 
and responsibilities among the various levels of government.

G. Executive Order 13175: Consultation and Coordination With Indian 
Tribal Governments

    This action does not have tribal implications, as specified in 
Executive Order 13175. It will not have substantial direct effects on 
tribal governments, on the relationship between the federal government 
and Indian tribes, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities 
between the federal government and Indian tribes, as specified in 
Executive Order 13175. Thus, Executive Order 13175 does not apply to 
this action.

H. Executive Order 13045: Protection of Children From Environmental 
Health Risks and Safety Risks

    This action is not subject to Executive Order 13045 because it is 
not economically significant as defined in Executive Order 12866, and 
because the EPA does not believe the environmental health or safety 
risks addressed by this action present a disproportionate risk to 
children. This action finalizes amendments for two specific 
requirements in the 2016 Rule. Any impacts on children's health caused 
by the amendments in the rule will be limited, because the scope of the 
amendments is limited. The Agency, therefore, concludes it is more 
appropriate to determine the impact on children's health in the context 
of any substantive changes potentially proposed in the future as part 
of the reconsideration of the 2016 Rule (as granted on April 18, 2017).

I. Executive Order 13211: Actions Concerning Regulations That 
Significantly Affect Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use

    This action is not a ``significant energy action'' because it is 
not likely to have a significant adverse effect on the supply, 
distribution, or use of energy. The basis for this determination can be 
found in the 2016 Rule (81 FR 35894).

J. National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act (NTTAA)

    This rulemaking does not involve technical standards.

K. Executive Order 12898: Federal Actions To Address Environmental 
Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income Populations

    This action finalizes amendments for two specific requirements in 
the 2016 Rule. Any impacts on minority populations and low-income 
populations caused by the amendments in the rule will be limited, 
because the scope of the amendments is limited. The

[[Page 10638]]

Agency, therefore, concludes it is more appropriate to determine the 
impact on minority populations and low-income populations in the 
context of any substantive changes potentially proposed in the future 
as part of the reconsideration of the 2016 Rule (as granted on April 
18, 2017).

L. Congressional Review Act (CRA)

    This action is subject to the CRA, and the EPA will submit a rule 
report to each House of the Congress and to the Comptroller General of 
the United States. This action is not a ``major rule'' as defined by 5 
U.S.C. 804(2).

List of Subjects in 40 CFR Part 60

    Environmental protection, Administrative practice and procedure, 
Air pollution control, Reporting and recordkeeping.

    Dated: February 23, 2018.
E. Scott Pruitt,
Administrator.

    For the reasons set out in the preamble, title 40, chapter I of the 
Code of Federal Regulations is amended as follows:

PART 60--STANDARDS OF PERFORMANCE FOR NEW STATIONARY SOURCES

0
1. The authority citation for part 60 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: 42 U.S.C. 7401 et seq.

Subpart OOOOa--Standards of Performance for Crude Oil and Natural 
Gas Facilities for Which Construction, Modification or 
Reconstruction Commenced After September 18, 2015

0
2. Section 60.5397a is amended by revising paragraphs (f)(1), (g)(1) 
and (2), and (h)(2) to read as follows:


Sec.  60.5397a  What fugitive emissions GHG and VOC standards apply to 
the affected facility which is the collection of fugitive emissions 
components at a well site and the affected facility which is the 
collection of fugitive emissions components at a compressor station?

* * * * *
    (f) (1) You must conduct an initial monitoring survey within 60 
days of the startup of production, as defined in Sec.  60.5430a, for 
each collection of fugitive emissions components at a new well site or 
by June 3, 2017, whichever is later. For a modified collection of 
fugitive emissions components at a well site, the initial monitoring 
survey must be conducted within 60 days of the first day of production 
for each collection of fugitive emission components after the 
modification or by June 3, 2017, whichever is later. Notwithstanding 
the preceding deadlines, for each collection of fugitive emissions 
components at a well site located on the Alaskan North Slope, as 
defined in Sec.  60.5430a, that starts up production between September 
and March, you must conduct an initial monitoring survey within 6 
months of the startup of production for a new well site, within 6 
months of the first day of production after a modification of the 
collection of fugitive emission components, or by the following June 
30, whichever is later.
* * * * *
    (g) * * *
    (1) Except as provided herein, a monitoring survey of each 
collection of fugitive emissions components at a well site within a 
company-defined area must be conducted at least semiannually after the 
initial survey. Consecutive semiannual monitoring surveys must be 
conducted at least 4 months apart. A monitoring survey of each 
collection of fugitive emissions components at a well site located on 
the Alaskan North Slope must be conducted at least annually. 
Consecutive annual monitoring surveys must be conducted at least 9 
months apart.
    (2) A monitoring survey of the collection of fugitive emissions 
components at a compressor station within a company-defined area must 
be conducted at least quarterly after the initial survey. Consecutive 
quarterly monitoring surveys must be conducted at least 60 days apart.
* * * * *
    (h) * * *
    (2) If the repair or replacement is technically infeasible, would 
require a vent blowdown, a compressor station shutdown, a well shutdown 
or well shut-in, or would be unsafe to repair during operation of the 
unit, the repair or replacement must be completed during the next 
scheduled compressor station shutdown, well shutdown, well shut-in, 
after a planned vent blowdown or within 2 years, whichever is earlier.
* * * * *
[FR Doc. 2018-04431 Filed 3-9-18; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 6560-50-P