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Wyoming sues Biden Administration over new methane rule

Gov. Mark Gordon (Dan Cepeda, Oil City News File)

CHEYENNE, Wyo. — Wyoming has joined the states of North Dakota, Montana and Texas in suing the U.S. Department of Interior and Bureau of Land Management over a new rule that they have said undermines existing state regulatory programs and harms Wyoming oil and natural gas producers.

The suit was filed this week in the U.S. District Court for the District of North Dakota. The rule — commonly known as the “methane waste prevention rule,” released last month — is an attempt by the department of Interior to re-introduce a similar rule adopted by the Obama Administration in 2016. That rule was previously blocked by a Wyoming federal court.

The new rule requires oil and gas companies to pay royalties on flared gas, driving up costs for producers and resulting in increased costs to consumers, Gov. Mark Gordon said in a news release.

“This rule is yet another example of the Biden Administration attempting to use rulemaking to undermine state authority and suffocate the oil and gas industry,” Gordon said. “We will continue to defend Wyoming’s interests in court whenever they are under attack by the federal government.”

Gordon has previously pointed out Wyoming is a national leader in regulating methane gas, with the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality and Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission working cooperatively with oil and gas producers to reduce emissions. The states’ complaint argues that the new rule conflicts with state regulations and, in certain instances, creates less stringent standards.

The states’ complaint may be found here.