• Groups Petition WOGCC for Changes to Flaring Rules
  • June 5, 2013
  • Law Firm: Holland Hart LLP - Denver Office
  • On May 17, the Powder River Basin Resource Council and other conservation organizations petitioned the Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission to revise WOGCC rules for natural gas flaring at Chapter 3, Section 39, as well as other rules relating to setbacks from homes and businesses and dealing with accidents and spills. Arguing that flaring permits waste of natural gas resources as great expense to the state, Petitioners request rule changes to: (1) ensure that flaring can only be approved by the WOGCC at a public hearing; (2) require proof of notice to surface and mineral owners of flaring applications; (3) require best available technology to control air emissions and noise associated with flaring; and (4) put limits on the amount of flaring. Requested flaring limits include: (1) limiting emergency flaring to no more than 48 hours; (2) limiting well purging and evaluation test flaring to no more than 48 hours; (3) limiting production test flaring to no more than seven days or no more than 1,500 MCF; (4) limiting the flaring of low rate casing head gas to no more than 30 MCF per day; (5) limiting the gas that can be flared with WOGCC approval to no more than 90 days of flaring; and (6) limiting the amount of gas that can be flared with WOGCC approval to 250 MCF per day.

    The Petition also proposes to amend the setback from homes and businesses from 350 feet to 0.25 mile, with exceptions requiring WOGCC approval and notice to landowners. Petitioners claim greater setbacks are needed to reduce impacts to residents from noise, traffic, and light and air pollution. Finally, the Petition proposes new rules imposing fines for accidental spills released on lands outside the well permit area.

    Petitioners request that the WOGCC hold a hearing to consider the proposed rule changes. Under Wyoming statute, the WOGCC must either deny the petition in writing or initiate rulemaking proceedings as soon as practicable.