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EPA Rule Requires Natural Gas Processing Facilities to Report to TRI

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On November 24, 2021, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a final rule to require natural gas processing (NGP) facilities to begin reporting emissions to the Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) under section 313 of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) and section 6607 of the Pollution Prevention Act (PPA). 86 Fed. Reg. 66953 (November 24, 2021); see also 42 U.S.C. 11023; 42 U.S.C. 13106. The final rule is effective for the reporting year beginning January 1, 2022, for which reports are due July 1, 2023. The rule finalizes a proposed rule that was published in the Federal Register on January 6, 2017.  82 Fed. Reg. 1651 (January 6, 2017).

EPA is adding this industry sector “because doing so will meaningfully increase the information available to the public on releases and other waste management of listed chemicals from the NGP sector….”  86 Fed. Reg. at 66954. EPA further notes approximately 1.4 million people live within three miles of at least one of the NGP facilities EPA identified, and “some NGP facilities are located in communities where there are potential Environmental Justice considerations.” Id. Facilities likely to be regulated primarily recover liquid hydrocarbons from oil and gas field gases. Per EPA, NGP facilities use at least 21 TRI-listed chemicals, including benzene, toluene, and methanol. EPA estimates that the final rule will apply to approximately 321 to 489 NGP facilities.

EPA’s action also addresses a 2012 petition from the Environmental Integrity Project and others requesting the Oil and Gas Extraction sector be added to the sectors covered by the reporting requirements. EPA li mited its rulemaking to NGP facilities rather than the entire Oil and Gas Extraction sector after looking at each stage of the oil and gas extraction process and the extent to which other laws and regulations apply. See attachment “2015 Oct. EPA Response to Petition” for additional information.

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