EPA continues commitment to collaborate with IOGCC on task force

The US Environmental Protection Agency announced that it is renewing its commitment to collaborate with the Interstate Oil & Gas Compact Commission on a task force that EPA and IOGCC established in 2002.

The US Environmental Protection Agency announced that it is renewing its commitment to collaborate with the Interstate Oil & Gas Compact Commission on a task force that EPA and IOGCC established in 2002. EPA officials made the Aug. 27 announcement in Medora, ND, as IOGCC concluded its 3-day 2019 annual conference there.

The two entities said they will continue working together to promote protection of human health and the environment, while recognizing each other’s missions, responsibilities, and authorities, increasing efficiencies and facilitating the exchange of information and expertise.

“Referring to collaboration in the abstract does not go far enough,” said Doug Benevento, EPA’s senior counselor for regional management and state affairs. “Instead, it’s important to memorialize our intentions to work together with our state oil and gas coregulators through the renewed memorandum of understanding we will sign later this year.”

EPA Region 6 Administrator Ken McQueen, who is based in Dallas, said, “Federal-state partnerships have allowed us to work together on reasonable, responsible actions to protect people and natural resources while continuing economic growth.”

IOGCC’s purpose

Based in Oklahoma City, IOGCC helps its member states maximize oil and gas resources through regulatory practices while protecting the nation’s health, safety, and environment. Its committees and work groups initiate and sustain innovative projects with the sole purpose of advancing the US energy future, according to its web site. It said its member governors, state oil and gas regulators, industry representatives, and the environmental community work to resolve issues surrounding US energy resources.

IOGCC noted that through the commission, member states can:

• Access resources nationwide for more effective practices, as well as lessons learned from other states grappling with similar issues.

• Receive information about what is occurring in other states and in the US Congress.

• Obtain assistance to initiate innovative programs or further develop and enhance current programs.

• Learn about emerging national trends.

Standing committees focus on energy resources, research, and technology; environment and safety; legal and regulatory affairs; public, coastal, and tribal lands; and public outreach.

IOGCC officials signed an MOU with EPA establishing the task force in December 2002 (OGJ Online, Dec. 19, 2002). “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 Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R), who was IOGCC’s chairman at the time.

Handling produced water

In its announcement, EPA said that produced water generated from oil and gas production was one of many topics covered at the just-concluded IOGCC meeting. Both EPA and certain IOGCC member regulators maintain authority and responsibility over produced water, making federal and state collaboration on the management and regulation of produced water essential, EPA said.

It said that more information is available in its May 19 draft Study of Oil and Gas Extraction Wastewater Management under the Clean Water Act as well as a forthcoming draft Water Reuse Action Plan, which will highlight produced water reuse and recycling opportunities.

EPA also said efforts to facilitate oil and gas industry regulatory compliance provides opportunities to collaborate with state regulators. It noted that its New Owner Audit Program for Oil and Gas encourages environmental audits and self-disclosure of noncompliance, consistent with many state regulators’ audit programs.

The agency also said its Environmental Compliance Information for Energy Extraction web site is an online portal intended to help the regulated community comply with both federal and state environmental regulations.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@endeavorb2b.com.

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