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EPA Extends Deadlines for Use of Best Available Monitoring Methods for Calculating GHG Emissions from Petroleum and Natural Gas Systems

By William Kaplowitz

On April 25, 2011, EPA reconsidered a rule issued in November 2010 and published a new final rule that grants owners and operators of petroleum and natural gas systems three extra months in which to (1) apply for permission to use, (2) use, and (3) seek an extension of permission to use best available monitoring methods ("BAMM") to calculate their GHG emissions, rather than relying on calculation methodologies outlined by EPA. According to EPA, the following sources constitute BAMM: (1) monitoring methods currently used by the facility that do not meet the specifications of the rule; (2) supplier data; (3) engineering calculations; or (4) other company records.

The new rule amends 40 CFR Part 98, subpart W. That regulation previously provided that owners and operators could request permission to use BAMM throughout 2011 to calculate GHG emissions related to leaks, but only if they filed a request to do so by April 30, 2011. The new rule extends the deadline for filing that request by three months, to July 31, 2011. Under the old rule, no permission was necessary to use BAMM until April 30, 2011, to monitor well-related emissions or to gather input data on the following: cumulative hours venting; times of operation; numbers of blowdowns, completions, workovers, or similar events; volume of fuel used; and cumulative volume produced, volume input and output. The new rule extends that time period by three months, so that BAMM can be used until September 30, 2011, for those purposes without a special grant of permission. The new rule also pushes back the deadline for filing a request to continue using BAMM for these purposes throughout the year. The new deadline is July 31, 2011.

The final rule granting the three month extensions is available at: http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2011/pdf/2011-10026.pdf