IOGCC and EPA sign regulatory cooperation agreement

Regulators from oil and gas producing states signed a cooperation agreement with the US Environmental Protection Agency designed to "facilitate more open and timely communication," according to the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission.

By OGJ editors

WASHINGTON, DC, Dec. 19 -- Regulators from oil and gas producing states signed a cooperation agreement with the US Environmental Protection Agency designed to "facilitate more open and timely communication," according to the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission.

IOGCC officials said a memorandum of understanding was signed Dec. 16 at the group's annual meeting in Little Rock, Ark.

"This MOU is designed to improve regulatory cooperation among the states and the EPA in order to promote protection of the environment in a cost-effective manner by minimizing regulatory duplication between the state and national levels of government and (by) increasing communication," said IOGCC's chairman Gov. Mike Huckabee of Arkansas. "We look forward to an exciting new future of collaboration with the EPA that will foster environmental protection based on a mutual understanding for each other's mission, responsibilities, and authorities."

Under the MOU, IOGCC and EPA agree to assemble a task force to identify issues of concern and to address issues that may result from concurrent jurisdiction between the states and EPA.

The task force also will outline ways to streamline environmental permitting via "results-based environmental management plans" relating to oil and gas resource development. The task force also will identify mutually beneficial joint activities including training opportunities, field visits and technical symposiums.

The task force will include IOGCC, EPA, and senior state oil and gas regulators. The group will identify areas of concern and recommend proposed actions and solutions and will consult and coordinate with other state and federal agencies, Indian tribes, and other organizations as issues and solutions are developed.

Reports made to the EPA administrator and IOGCC chairman will be made available to the public on the IOGCC and EPA Web sites, IOGCC officials said.

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