Earlier this week, the Environmental Protection Agency  (“EPA”) released an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking to solicit public comments for possible modifications to the Clean Power Plan (“CPP”).US EPA and BLM eye major reforms

An important step in the rulemaking process, this notice came as no surprise after the EPA’s announcement in late October that it was interested in repealing the CPP.

Although the notice itself did not actually propose a future rule, the areas of interest that the EPA specifically requested public comment on provide strong hints at what the shape of any future amendments to the CPP would look like.

Specifically, the notice makes it clear that the EPA is interested in empowering the states, rather than the federal government, with setting emissions guidelines for electric utility generating units. And, that the EPA seeks to amend the system of emission reduction currently in the CPP.

In a similar move to deregulate the oil and gas industry, the Bureau of Land Management (“BLM”) is expected to finalize their decision to rescind a rule regulating fracking on federal and tribal lands next month. Criticized by the BLM itself as duplicative of other state and tribal regulatory programs, repeal of this rule will likely allow industry participants to avoid unnecessary compliance costs and purposeless information requirements.

The BLM has also signaled that they will be proposing a rule revising or rescinding a previous rule limiting the venting and flaring from gas wells on public land. Although this rule proposal is still in a preliminary stage, this could also have significant positive effects on the oil and gas industry.

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