One proposed amendment before the City Council calls for local enforcement of federal environmental regulations; specifically, a set of EPA standards issued April 17, 2012.
Texland currently complies with all state and federal emission rules with respect to its operations. EPA already has a timetable for enforcement of its policy phasing in by 2015. Additionally, EPA’s website reports the following regarding the aim of the policy change:
“The final rules are expected to yield a nearly 95 percent reduction in VOC emissions from more than 11,000 new hydraulically fractured gas wells each year. This significant reduction would be accomplished primarily through capturing natural gas that currently escapes into the air, and making that gas available for sale. The rules also will reduce air toxics, which are known or suspected of causing cancer and other serious health effects, and emissions of methane, a potent greenhouse gas.”
The rule is primarily aimed at emissions from hydraulically fractured gas wells. Texland is not aware of one single well in Lubbock County that would be classified as a gas well. Rather, every well in the county is classified as an oil well.
The changes proposed by this rule are relevant in places like Fort Worth or Pittsburgh, PA, where the primary drilling target is natural gas production. In Lubbock, however, rules focused on gas production are simply not applicable. Further, the push for enforcement of EPA standards at a city level appears to be redundant with federal enforcement.