EPA backs off plans for non-attainment designation of portions of Permian Basin

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EPA logo(EPA via MGN)
Published: Jan. 6, 2023 at 12:15 PM CST
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ODESSA, Texas (KOSA) - UPDATE: Governor Abbott released the following statement in regard to the EPA’s plans:

“Governor Greg Abbott today issued a statement after the Biden Administration removed a plan by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to impose a discretionary redesignation of the Permian Basin, the nation’s most prolific oil field, in its latest semiannual regulatory agenda. If allowed to proceed, the EPA’s actions in the Permian Basin could result in draconian regulations that would directly interfere with 40% of all oil produced in the United States.

“The Permian Basin is the crown jewel of Texas’ mighty oil and gas industry, and the State of Texas will do whatever it takes to protect its production and the hundreds of thousands of good-paying energy jobs in our state,” said Governor Abbott. “While it is encouraging news that the Biden Administration has backed down on this disastrous plan, Texas remains ready to fight any job-killing attacks on our critical oil and gas industry. Texas is—and always will be—a pro-energy state, and we will keep a watchful eye for any potential changes or attacks by President Biden that could jeopardize affordable energy prices and the livelihoods of hardworking Texans.”

According to U.S. Energy Information Administration data, Permian Basin producers in Texas and New Mexico are responsible for 5.2 million barrels of oil per day, which can be processed into about 95 million gallons of gasoline a day. In a letter sent to President Joe Biden about the proposed plan last July, Governor Abbott pointed out that not only would the EPA’s redesignation process lead to higher gas prices for Americans by disrupting roughly a quarter of the U.S. oil supply, but it would put hundreds of thousands of good-paying energy jobs at risk. The Texas oil and gas industry directly employs more than 422,000 Texans and supports 1.37 million Texas jobs. The Governor also noted that if the EPA’s proposed redesignation was not suspended, the State of Texas would take action necessary to protect the production of oil. Governor Abbott kept up the pressure on the Biden Administration’s ongoing attack on the Permian Basin, sending another letter last August outlining the flawed logic and data employed to proceed with their stated goal of ending fossil fuels.

In January 2021, one week after President Biden was sworn in, Governor Abbott issued an executive order to protect Texas’ energy industry from federal overreach following a roundtable in Odessa with energy workers, leaders, and advocates. The executive order directed every state agency to use all lawful powers and tools to challenge any federal action that threatens the continued strength and independence of the energy industry.”

----Original story below----

State Representative Brooks Landgraf was told late Thursday that the EPA is now backing off of its plans for a non-attainment designation of portions of the Permian Basin.

“This is a massive win for the Permian Basin, Texas, the United States, and anywhere else where people need energy and love freedom,” Landgraf said. “There were reports that the EPA was going to indirectly shut down the Permian Basin without any air monitoring data from Texas. Thankfully, we have leaders in this state who are willing to step up and fight when a bully shows up.”

In June of 2021, citing data obtained from air quality monitors in New Mexico, the EPA announced its intention to consider redesignating the Texas portion of the Permian Basin as a “non-attainment” area – an area that does not meet the standards of the 2015 Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS). If finalized, this proposal could have resulted in further regulation of the oil and gas industry in the Permian Basin. For reasons that have not yet been made public, on Wednesday the EPA omitted the policy from its agenda of planned regulations, deeming the measure inactive.

“Governor Abbott, Congressman Pfluger and Speaker Phelan were all with us every step of the way, fighting and pushing back on the EPA however we could,” Landgraf continued. “We rallied forces in Odessa to call attention to the issue back in September, and have been hounding the EPA constantly since the day they made their plans known.”

Todd Staples, president of the Texas Oil & Gas Association today issued the following statement:

”The decision by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to not pursue designation of the Permian Basin as a non-attainment area for the ozone standard is the correct one. The wide-open spaces of West Texas and Eastern New Mexico are home to the oil and natural gas that fuel our economy and enhance modern life. Carbon dioxide, methane, and other related emissions have been declining substantially over the last few years and operators are focused on continued good environmental stewardship. In fact, oil produced in the Permian Basin is among the cleanest in the world according to its lower carbon intensity. Excessive government regulation is unnecessary and stifles affordable and reliable energy supplies. The oil and natural gas industry remains committed to making smart choices to improve air quality in this region and deliver the resources that are indispensable to our state, nation, and world.”