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North Dakota sues EPA to stop oil, gas industry methane emissions rule

North Dakota has sued the U.S. EPA to stop the agency'srecently finalized methane emissions regulations on new and modified oil andgas industry sources.

The rule limiting the sector's methane emissions goes beyondthe EPA's authority and is an "abuse of discretion," the North Dakotaattorney general's office said in a filing with the U.S. Court of Appeals forthe District of Columbia Circuit.

The petition, dated July 14, said the court should deem therule unlawful and prevent its implementation.

The methane rule, finalized in May, was the to directly targetmethane emissions from the oil and gas industry. The regulation methane emissions from hydraulicallyfractured oil and gas wells, as well as other equipment and system leaks.

The industry has objected to the regulation, and North Dakota, with itssubstantial oil and gas production and infrastructure, is one of the statesthat would be most affected by the rule's implementation. Operators in thestate produced over 432 million barrels of oil and nearly 585 Bcf of gas in2015, according to the state Industrial Commission's Department of MineralResources. North Dakota is also home to about 8,600 miles of gas lines and over3,000 miles of crude oil pipes, according to U.S. Pipeline and HazardousMaterials Safety Administration.

The EPA said it expects the standards to cost industry about$530 million in 2025, but the American Petroleum Institute has pegged theannual cost at $800 million. Industry representatives have noted that since theregulation applies to new, modified and reconstructed sources — including wellsthat are refractured — tens of thousands of wells will be affected annually.