A California power company is seeking to block the Environmental Protection Agency’s methane regulations in the wake of the agency’s announcement that it will not impose methane limits on oil and gas drilling.
The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) issued the order last week, saying the agency is too broad in its mandate and that it does not comply with federal methane regulations.
The CPUC order comes as the industry and EPA prepare to hold a press conference on Friday, June 27, in which they will discuss the EPA’s decision.
The order said the CPUC would consider the request, which it received from San Francisco-based power producer San Francisco Power &Light Co., for a preliminary injunction.
The company’s attorneys said the agency should reconsider its decision and issue a final rule, which they also plan to file with the court.
The lawsuit comes just two days after California Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation that allows for a “pause” in the EPA methane regulations, which would allow the CPUCs to set their own methane limits for oil and natural gas production.
California has been a leader in oil and other natural gas exploration and development, but the industry has been hit hard by the EPA rule.
In response, companies like San Francisco are suing the EPA in federal court, arguing that the methane rule unfairly targets them.
The EPA announced its decision to pull the plug on its methane rules in February.
The agency’s new rule allows states to use a “state of mind” standard for methane production in oil- and gas-rich areas that would apply to any production that does not meet certain requirements.
The new standard will allow states to limit the amount of methane produced from oil and related gas wells and to reduce the amount produced by fracking.
San Francisco’s attorneys say the CPUc is abusing its power and unfairly regulating the industry.
The state’s energy department is currently working on a methane rule that could set a methane limit for the state’s natural gas and oil production in the area, but it is not clear when that rule could be finalized.