Independents launch Project BRIEF as public education effort

Enacting new federal regulations, especially related to hydraulic fracturing, could have disastrous economic consequences and increase US dependence on foreign oil, a coalition of US independent producers warned.

Nick Snow
Washington Editor

WASHINGTON, DC, May 7 -- Enacting new federal regulations, especially related to hydraulic fracturing, could have disastrous economic consequences and increase US dependence on foreign oil, a coalition of US independent producers warned.

That was the conclusion of a new research initiative, Project BRIEF (for Bringing Real Information on Energy Forward), which the Independent Petroleum Association of America and several regional independent producer associations launched on May 6.

Specifically, it found that potential new regulations being considered in Washington could force half of the country's oil wells and a third of its natural gas wells to close; cost the federal government $4 billion and state governments $785 million in revenue; and slash domestic oil production by 183,000 b/d and gas production by 245 bcf/year.

Proposals include requiring oil and gas producers to report to the federal Toxic Release Inventory, requiring wells using hydraulic fracturing to comply with underground injection control requirements, require that all wastes associated with development and production comply with "cradle-to-grave" hazardous waste provisions of the Resources Conservation and Recovery Act, and requiring storm water permits for all E&P operations.

The project has been in the works since last summer, OGJ has learned. Its studies describe the history and progress of effective state regulation of energy development, the federal government's proper role, and economic consequences of proposed changes.

Lee O. Fuller, IPAA vice-president of government relations, said Project BRIEF's research is unprecedented and its findings are stark.

"Implementing new federal regulations that threaten domestic energy production and increase costs, without creating any additional environmental benefits, is the wrong policy course for the country and could cost thousands of hard-working Americans their jobs. That's the bottom line in the BRIEF reports, and the reason we've launched this public education initiative," he said.

The coalition of independents launched a new web site, www.EnergyInDepth.org, to highlight Project BRIEF's findings and educate the public. Features include a virtual well site tour, interactive state-by-state map, and the worldwide web's most comprehensive energy library, the group said.

"Energy is the lifeblood of our economy and the fuel that sustains and creates good jobs here at home. The men and women who work for America's roughly 5,000 small and independent oil and gas producers are using 21st century technology to develop supplies safely, efficiently and effectively, as their long record of achievement illustrates," said Fuller.

"Policymakers and the American public need to get unvarnished facts and see firsthand the environmentally-sensible technology we have at our command today to produce energy safely. They'll get both, and more, with Energy in Depth," he said.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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