D.C. Circuit Dissolves Administrative Stay of EPA’s Methane Rule

On October 27, 2020, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia dissolved its September 17 administrative stay of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (the “Agency”) Methane Rule.

The rule, as previously reported here, revises the Agency’s 2012 and 2016 New Source Performance Standards for the oil and gas sector related to volatile organic compounds and methane emissions.  A number of environmental groups and a group of states and cities filed petitions for review of the Rule in the D.C. Circuit – and also asked the court of appeals to vacate the Rule summarily or to issue an emergency stay of the Rule pending review. Last month’s administrative stay was ordered to give the court “sufficient opportunity to consider the emergency motion for stay.”

In dissolving the administrative stay, the court further ordered that the motion for stay pending review be denied, as the petitioners “have not satisfied the stringent requirements for a stay pending court review.” The court also ordered that the motion for summary vacatur be denied, as “[t]he merits of the parties’ positions are not so clear as to warrant summary action.” The three-judge panel set a briefing schedule for the consolidated challenge to the Rule.