On June 15, 2017, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) issued notice that it was postponing compliance date for certain sections of its Waste Prevention, Production Subject to Royalties, and Resource Conservation Rule, 81 Fed. Reg. 83008 (“Waste Prevention Rule”). The Waste Prevention Rule regulates the loss of natural gas through venting, flaring, and leaks during the production of oil and natural gas on Federal and Indian land, and requires operators to capture a certain percentage of gas produced, upgrade or replace pneumatic equipment, capture or combust storage tank vapors and implement leak detection and repair programs. The rule established a January 17, 2018 compliance date for these requirements. However, due to pending litigation challenging the Waste Production Rule, BLM decided that “justice requires it to postpone the compliance dates” for the following sections of the rule: 43 CFR 3179.7, 3179.9, 3179.201, 3179.202, 3179.203, and 3179.301 – 3179.305.
BLM will publish a document announcing the outcome of the review of the rule. It should be noted that BLM’s postponement of the requirements subject to the January 17, 2018 compliance date does not affect the provisions of the rule with compliance dates that have already passed, including 43 CFR 3162.3 – 1, 43 CFR subpart 3178, 43 CFR 3179.4, 3179.101 – 105, and 3179.204.