CMES Submits Testimony on New Methane Rule in Wyoming

The Center for Methane Emissions Solutions
Washington, DC

September 11, 2018

BY Electronic Submission

The Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality

RE: Proposed revisions to its Oil and Gas Production Facilities Chapter 6, Section 2 Permitting
Guidance (“P-BACT Guidance”).

The Center for Methane Emissions Solutions (CMES) is a coalition that represents the views of
companies in the methane mitigation industry in the United States, specifically in the leak detection
and repair (LDAR) space.

The methane mitigation industry is a robust and growing American industry. More than 100
companies have headquarters in the U.S., and there are more than 500 methane mitigation facilities
located across the country, in 46 states, including Wyoming. In fact, according to research from the
business consulting firm Datu, 1 Wyoming is seventh in the nation for clusters of businesses in the
methane mitigation sector with 19 service, sales and manufacturing/assembly locations. These
facilities are manufacturing plants, assembly facilities, service centers, service provider offices, and
administrative offices.

In response to publication of the proposed rule extending air quality standards that apply in the
Upper Green River Basin to the rest of the state of Wyoming, CMES offers these thoughts:

• CMES applauds the Department of Environmental Quality’s (DEQ) decision to propose semi-annual inspections to detect leaks at new and modified sites throughout the state. We have found when other states, like Colorado mandate regular inspections, they find leaks regularly. In fact, in a survey of oil and gas producers in Colorado, respondents found leaks in nine out of ten sites inspected.2

• DEQ should remove any linkage of their proposal to federal rules imposed by the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). As DEQ is no doubt aware, EPA is expected to
release a new proposed program for methane emissions that will undo the existing semiannual inspection requirement. CMES is strongly opposed to this potential action as it will introduce tremendous uncertainty into the marketplace. Wyoming should avoid similar confusion, by implementing its inspection policy independent of federal action.

• DEQ should write rules so that innovative technologies can be used for methane leak detection and repair. As the market for methane mitigation technologies continues to develop in the United States, so too does the technology available to address identify leaks. Mobile devices, drones, and other technologies are increasing the effectiveness and costs associated with monitoring. DEQ should use language similar to those adopted in Colorado to provide a process for emerging technologies to be considered.

• Lastly, we encourage DEQ to consider new rules overseeing existing sources, to compliment the rules proposed herein. Doing so would provide uniformity within the Wyoming marketplace, and provide even greater job growth.

A Note on the Implementation of Colorado’s Regulation 7

The most comprehensive set of methane waste regulations at the state level were implemented in Colorado with the establishment of Regulation 7. The rule, which went into effect in 2014, requires quarterly inspections and provides rules related to repairs for any leaks found. Despite being the strong in the nation, no lawsuits have ever been filed to stop the implementation of the Colorado rule, and we are unaware of any significant effort to roll back the rule legislatively or at the regulatory level. In fact, Colorado is considering refinements to the rule that will make it even stronger and more effective. In an effort to understand why implementation of such a rigorous regime has gone so smoothly, CMES published a study of the oil and gas industry’s perceptions of the implementation of Colorado’s Regulation 7.

Of the ten oil and gas operators who sat for in-depth interviews, Keating Research found that these companies had themselves conducted more than 1,100 site inspections at facilities over the year preceding the survey. On average, oil and gas companies found methane leaks on 9 out 10 sites inspected. More importantly, oil and gas companies reported that implementing Colorado’s rule was very cost effective. When they considered the natural gas they saved and sold because of their LDAR programs, 8 out of 10 said they had either profited, broken even, or paid just a little more under Colorado’s regulation. And 7 of 10 said that the benefits of the regulation outweighed the costs.

Moving Forward

CMES would be pleased to serve as a resource as DEQ moves forward with this worthwhile proposal. If we can be of service please do not hesitate to contact our Executive Director, Isaac Brown at