Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt and 12 other state attorneys general this week asked the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency not to settle with several northeastern states about oil-field methane emission, saying regulatory authority should remain with the states.
The letter stated that “regulation of methane emissions from oil and gas facilities is not appropriate” and that methane emissions from oil and gas facilities are being controlled “in compliance with existing regulations implemented by producing states and as a result of voluntary industry efforts.”
The attorneys general also asked that if the EPA disagreed, the federal government should at least include the producing states in the discussions.
“EPA must at a minimum include Oklahoma and other states with similar interests in any negotiations with the northern states,” the letter stated.
The attorneys general also took issue with EPA data they say overstates emission levels.
Pruitt wrote the letter and 12 other attorneys general endorsed it.
“The justification for those estimates has been challenged by mounting evidence, including voluminous data and investigation of potential flaws in the statistical methodology,” the letter stated.
The EPA on Monday reduced its methane emission estimates by 20 percent based on new calculations for two of the categories.
Oil and natural gas producers and the 13 attorneys generals have said the numbers are still inflated.
Bill Whitsitt, executive vice president of public affairs at Oklahoma City-based Devon Energy Corp., praised the states for challenging the EPA.
“This letter highlights the real problem with EPA's continuing overestimation of methane emissions from well completion operations,” Whitsitt said Friday. “The northeastern states intend to sue for tighter regulation, based on erroneous conclusions drawn from inflated emissions data. We are very pleased with the attorneys general stepping forward to declare that this is simply wrong.”