Marten Law: Responding to Limits on Greenhouse Gas Emissions: Three Questions for Companies in the Oil and Gas Industry

Marten Law: Responding to Limits on Greenhouse Gas Emissions: Three Questions for Companies in the Oil and Gas Industry

   By Russell Prugh, Associate, Marten Law PLLC

“The effects of coming greenhouse gas (GHG) regulation will be felt across a broad spectrum of the oil and gas industry. Exploration, development, production, refining, and transportation face restrictions on their direct GHG emissions. And unlike other sectors of the U.S. economy, the oil and gas industry also is likely to face limits based upon potential emissions from use of its products,” writes Russell Prugh. “As a matter of administrative convenience, GHG limitations are being aimed at the refiners and marketers of petroleum-based fuels and natural gas, rather than the consumers of those fuels.”

 

“In talking about the impact of GHG restrictions, for the most part we still must speak in terms of what is likely, or what may be required. Some new requirements, like reporting GHG emissions and the GHG content of fuels, appear unlikely to change,” predicts the author, an attorney at Marten Law PLLC. “Others, like new Clean Air Act (CAA) permitting requirements, are now known, but could be changed (or eliminated) if there is federal climate legislation. And lastly there are various proposals that may take hold in the future (like a national GHG cap-and-trade program), but only if legislation is passed or new rules are enacted. By focusing on three questions, this article highlights the parts of this regulatory picture that remain somewhat blurry, as well as those that have recently come into sharper focus.”

 

Those three questions that Prugh discusses are:

 

1. What If Federal Climate Legislation Does Not Pass?

 

2. What If Federal Climate Legislation Does Pass?

 

3. What Existing GHG Requirements Would Be Unaffected By Federal Legislation?

 

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Russell Prugh is an associate at Marten Law PLLC's Seattle office. Russell's practice focuses on environmental and natural resources litigation and environmental permitting for facilities and projects in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska.

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