These description of state regulations here are meant to summarize how states have addressed the air impacts from rapidly expanding oil and gas development. This is a work in progress, and changes will be, and are being, made to ensure that all of the information is as up-to-date and accurate as possible. However, at this point the information here should not be assumed to be fully accurate or citable without independent verification.
The summaries are currently limited to two specific, but immensely important, sources of air pollution: leaks (or fugitives) from oil and gas development, and the venting of natural gas. Leaks are addressed through “leak detection and repair” (or “LDAR”) programs that use established methods (ranging from smell to optical imaging cameras) to detect leaks of hydrocarbons and establish requirements to repair such leaks. Venting is often prohibited, but in doing so many states allow the flaring of the otherwise vented gas. When, and how, operators are allowed to flare varies greatly from state to state.
One further note: In some instances, a state’s regulation for LDAR simply incorporates the federal new source performance standards (“NSPS”). The NSPS for the Oil and Natural gas sector were established in 2012, and requires an operator to use Method 21 (a “sniffer” that determine the parts per million of hydrocarbons) to examine equipment that is in VOC service (i.e., greater than 10.0 percent VOC) at natural gas processing plants. See 40 C.F.R. §§ 60.5400-.5402. Such equipment excludes compressors located at processing plants, but includes: pumps, pressure relief devices, sampling connection systems, valves, pumps, and connectors. Operators are generally required to repair any identified leaks within 15 days.