In the wake of a lawsuit by WildEarth Guardians and the San Juan Citizens Alliance, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has begun a review of air-pollution rules for oil-and-gas operations. Though the EPA is required to review standards for air emissions every eight years under the Clean Air Act, in some cases, rules haven’t been updated for more than a decade, according to The Associated Press.

Now, as part of a settlement, the EPA has agreed to propose any changes to oil-and-gas emission rules by January 31, taking final action by November 30, 2011.

As part of the process, the EPA, which held public meetings in Arlington, Texas, on Monday and in Denver on Tuesday, will likely identify ways to reduce air pollutants for the industry. Kathleen Sgamma of Western Energy Alliance, a trade group, says any onerous requirements by the EPA would make it more difficult to produce energy domestically and could prompt more importation. Environmental groups, meanwhile, praise the process.

“Those of us who live in the Four Corners region are getting slaughtered by the air-quality impacts. It’s not acceptable,” says Mike Eisenfeld of the San Juan Citizens Alliance, who testified at Tuesday’s meeting (via The Durango Herald).