IOGCC, EPA sign environmental oversight agreement

Steven Poruban
Senior Editor

POINT CLEAR, Ala., May 8 -- The Interstate Oil & Gas Compact Commission and the US Environmental Protection Agency signed a memorandum of understanding May 7 to outline the two groups' environmental regulatory oversight of oil and natural gas exploration and production activities.

The agreement replaces and renews an MOU signed in December 2002 and renewed again in March 2005. This agreement's timeframe has been extended to 3 years from the previous 2-year expiration. The MOU was signed at the start of IOGCC's midyear issues summit in Point Clear, Ala.

The MOU's purpose is "to improve regulatory cooperation among the states and EPA in a manner that promotes protection of the environment in a cost-effective manner, minimizes duplication, increases efficiencies, enables the exchange of information and expertise, and increases communication," it said.

Some of the objectives outlined in the agreement include renewing a joint taskforce that will serve several purposes:

-- To continue long-term communication improvement between EPA and the states.

-- To continue a close IOGCC-EPA relationship fostering environmental protection based on mutual understanding for each group's missions, responsibilities, and authorities.

-- To address issues, through the formation of working subgroups, concerning concurrent jurisdiction between EPA and the states.

"In some instances the states and EPA have concurrent jurisdiction relating to a host of oil and gas regulatory efforts," the MOU said. "In other instances, the states and EPA have independent authorities that may be complementary when effectively coordinated."

IOGCC, a congressionally chartered organization of governors of 37 oil and gas-producing states, serves to protect and develop the states' oil and gas resources, while avoiding waste of those resources and protecting the environment.

Contact Steven Poruban at stevenp@pennwell.com

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