BLM Suspends or Delays Parts of Waste Prevention Rule

WASHINGTON, D.C. — As part of President Trump’s goal to reduce the burden of federal regulations that may hinder economic growth and energy development, the Bureau of Land Management today announced in the Federal Register that the agency will temporarily suspend or delay certain requirements contained in its 2016 final Waste Prevention Rule (also known as the Venting and Flaring Rule) until Jan. 17, 2019.

“As we strengthen America’s energy independence, we need to make sure that regulations do not unnecessarily encumber energy production, constrain economic growth, or prevent job creation,” said Brian Steed, BLM Deputy Director for Policy and Programs.  “By holding off on certain requirements, the BLM now has sufficient time to review the 2016 final rule while avoiding any compliance costs on industry that may not be needed after the review.”

The BLM reviewed the 2016 final rule as part of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s Secretarial Order No. 3349, American Energy Independence, issued on March 29.  The BLM found that immediately implementing some parts of the 2016 final rule could unnecessarily burden industry as the BLM considers which parts of that rule might change.

In planning for additional review of the rule, the BLM determined that a temporary suspension or delay of certain requirements avoids compliance costs on operators for requirements that may be rescinded or significantly revised in the near future.  For certain requirements in the 2016 final rule that have yet to be implemented, the rule temporarily postpones the implementation dates until Jan. 17, 2019.  For certain requirements in the 2016 final rule that are currently in effect, the rule temporarily suspends their effectiveness, also until Jan. 17, 2019.  This gives the BLM sufficient time to review the 2016 final rule and consider revising or rescinding its requirements.  During this time, existing federal, state, and tribal regulations will ensure energy development is done in an environmentally sound, safe and responsible manner.

The BLM has engaged in stakeholder outreach in the course of developing this rule.  On Oct. 16 and 17, the BLM sent correspondence to tribal governments to solicit stakeholder views to inform the development of this final delay rule.  The BLM issued the proposed rule on Sept. 28, which was published on Oct. 5.  The agency accepted public comments through Nov. 6.  The BLM received more than 158,000 public comments on the proposed rule, including approximately 750 unique comments.

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The BLM supports the administration’s priorities that require agencies to seek ways to reduce the costs of regulatory compliance (Executive Order 13771, Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs) and that require the Secretary of the Interior to review four specific rules, including the BLM’s 2016 final rule on waste prevention (Executive Order 13783, Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth).

The rule and its associated documents can be found at the Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov.  Follow the instructions at the website.

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