US proposes more wetlands protection


Washington, DC�The US Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers Thursday proposed a regulation that, if passed, would make it more difficult for oil and gas operators to conduct activity on US wetlands.

The proposed rule would change the definition of dredged materials to afford broader protection for wetlands. They said the proposed rule would close a loophole in Clean Water Act (CWA) regulations by clarifying the types of activities that can harm wetlands.

EPA Administrator Carol Browner said, �Wetlands are essential to preserving clean and healthy water for all Americans. Unfortunately, due to a legal loophole that has been exploited, an additional 20,000 acres of wetlands have been lost in this country over the last 2 years.�

EPA said, since the late 1700s, more than half of the nation�s wetlands have been lost to development and other activities. Seven states have lost more than 80% of their original wetlands.

It explained, �Wetlands are a collective term for marshes, swamps, bogs, and similar wet land areas generally located between dry land and bodies of water. They are an invaluable part of the ecosystem, filtering and cleansing the nation�s waters, helping to retain flood waters, and harboring emerging fish and shellfish populations.

�Destruction of wetlands can increase flooding and runoff potential, harm neighboring property, cause stream and river pollution, and result in the loss of valuable habitat.�

One US operating company�HS Resources Inc.�was fined $700,000 this week for illegally destroying wetlands in Louisiana (OGJ Online, Aug. 10, 2000).

History
The proposed rule would broaden coverage of environmentally destructive earth-moving activities (such as mechanized land clearing, ditching, channelization, and in-stream mining) associated with draining wetlands.

EPA said, under CWA�s Sec. 404, the Corps issues permits after completing an environmental review of dredged material from proposed projects, including the potential adverse effects on wetlands.

�This permit program is designed to minimize the environmental impact on wetlands while also requiring offsetting actions, such as creating or restoring other wetlands.�

EPA and the corps ruled in August 1993 that permits were required for any discharges associated with draining wetlands. Trade associations challenged the action, and the US District Court in Washington, DC, overturned it in January 1997. The US Court of Appeals affirmed that decision in June 1998.

EPA said, as a result, certain forms of environmentally destructive activities have been unchecked.

�Since the 1997 district court decision, nearly 20,000 acres of wetlands have been destroyed and more than 150 miles of streams channeled without environmental review or mitigation,� EPA said.

Related Articles

AER sets new seismic monitoring rules for Duvernay in the Fox Creek area

02/23/2015 The Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) announced seismic monitoring and reporting requirements for companies using hydraulic fracturing in the Duvernay...

BOEM publishes second final SEIS for 2008 Chukchi Sea lease sale

02/23/2015 The US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management published a fresh supplemental environmental impact statement (SEIS) for a Chukchi Sea federal oil and gas...

BLM decision clears way for first NPRA federal oil production

02/23/2015 The US Bureau of Land Management issued a record of decision (ROD) for the proposed Greater Mooses Tooth One project (GMT1), which cleared the way ...

Watching Government: Letting states take charge

02/23/2015 The US Bureau of Land Management takes an average 227 days to process an application to drill for oil and gas on onshore federal land it oversees. ...

US House vote sends Keystone XL approval bill to Obama's desk

02/23/2015 The US House of Representatives voted by 270 to 152 to pass S. 1, which would deem the proposed Keystone XL crude oil pipeline approved more than 6...

TransCanada challenges EPA's comments on Keystone XL SEIS

02/23/2015 TransCanada Corp. responded critically to the Feb. 2 comment letter from the US Environmental Protection Agency on the US Department of State's fin...

DOI proposes Arctic-specific drilling regulations for Alaska OCS

02/20/2015 The US Department of the Interior proposed regulations to ensure that oil and gas exploration on the US Arctic Continental Shelf occur safely and r...

Oil, gas infrastructure investments essential, House panel told

02/20/2015 Investments in oil and gas transportation and storage should move ahead because they are essential in continuing the US economic recovery and North...

More pragmatism urged for developing Eastern Mediterranean gas

02/20/2015 Eastern Mediterranean nations should abandon inflated expectations and adopt more realistic approaches to developing their natural gas resources, s...
White Papers

AVEVA’s Digital Asset Approach - Defining a new era of collaboration in capital projects and asset operations

There is constant, intensive change in the capital projects and asset life cycle management. New chall...
Sponsored by

Transforming the Oil and Gas Industry with EPPM

With budgets in the billions, timelines spanning years, and life cycles extending over decades, oil an...
Sponsored by

Asset Decommissioning in Oil & Gas: Transforming Business

Asset intensive organizations like Oil and Gas have their own industry specific challenges when it com...
Sponsored by

Squeezing the Green: How to Cut Petroleum Downstream Costs and Optimize Processing Efficiencies with Enterprise Project Portfolio Management Solutions

As the downstream petroleum industry grapples with change in every sector and at every level, includin...
Sponsored by

7 Steps to Improve Oil & Gas Asset Decommissioning

Global competition and volatile markets are creating a challenging business climate for project based ...
Sponsored by

The impact of aging infrastructure in process manufacturing industries

Process manufacturing companies in the oil and gas, utilities, chemicals and natural resource industri...
Sponsored by

What is System Level Thermo-Fluid Analysis?

This paper will explain some of the fundamentals of System Level Thermo-Fluid Analysis and demonstrate...

Accurate Thermo-Fluid Simulation in Real Time Environments

The crux of any task undertaken in System Level Thermo-Fluid Analysis is striking a balance between ti...
Available Webcasts


Prevention, Detection and Mitigation of pipeline leaks in the modern world

When Thu, Apr 30, 2015

Preventing, detecting and mitigating leaks or commodity releases from pipelines are a top priority for all pipeline companies. This presentation will look at various aspects related to preventing, detecting and mitigating pipeline commodity releases from a generic and conceptual point of view, while at the same time look at the variety of offerings available from Schneider Electric to meet some of the requirements associated with pipeline integrity management. 

register:WEBCAST



On Demand

Global LNG: Adjusting to New Realities

Fri, Mar 20, 2015

Oil & Gas Journal’s March 20, 2015, webcast will look at how global LNG trade will be affected over the next 12-24 months by falling crude oil prices and changing patterns and pressures of demand. Will US LNG production play a role in balancing markets? Or will it add to a growing global oversupply of LNG for markets remote from easier natural gas supply? Will new buyers with marginal credit, smaller requirements, or great need for flexibility begin to look attractive to suppliers? How will high-cost, mega-projects in Australia respond to new construction cost trends?

register:WEBCAST


US Midstream at a Crossroads

Fri, Mar 6, 2015

Oil & Gas Journal’s Mar. 6, 2015, webcast will focus on US midstream companies at an inflection point in their development in response to more than 6 years shale oil and gas production growth. Major infrastructure—gas plants, gathering systems, and takeaway pipelines—have been built. Major fractionation hubs have expanded. Given the radically changed pricing environment since mid-2014, where do processors go from here? What is the fate of large projects caught in mid-development? How to producers and processors cooperate to ensure a sustainable and profitable future? This event will serve to set the discussion table for the annual GPA Convention in San Antonio, Apr. 13-16, 2015.

This event is sponsored by Leidos Engineering.

register:WEBCAST


The Future of US Refining

Fri, Feb 6, 2015

Oil & Gas Journal’s Feb. 6, 2015, webcast will focus on the future of US refining as various forces this year conspire to pull the industry in different directions. Lower oil prices generally reduce feedstock costs, but they have also lowered refiners’ returns, as 2015 begins with refined products priced at lows not seen in years. If lower per-barrel crude prices dampen production of lighter crudes among shale plays, what will happen to refiners’ plans to export more barrels of lighter crudes? And as always, refiners will be affected by government regulations, particularly those that suppress demand, increase costs, or limit access to markets or supply.

register:WEBCAST


Emerson Micro Motion Videos

Careers at TOTAL

Careers at TOTAL - Videos

More than 600 job openings are now online, watch videos and learn more!

 

Click Here to Watch

Other Oil & Gas Industry Jobs

Search More Job Listings >>
Stay Connected