Happy Holidays and Regulatory Overreach

by Kathleen Sgamma, Vice President of Government and Public Affairs on December 18, 2015 - 7:22am

Stack of RegulationsAs the year draws to a close, the oil and natural gas is glad to be reaching the bottom of a tall stack of new regulations. As we’ve documented, the Administration seems intent on using the regulatory process in a punitive manner toward disfavored industries like coal, oil and natural gas. Never mind that we form the basis of the economy and enable the comfortable lifestyle that Americans enjoy.

Oil and natural gas development should be and already is heavily regulated. All energy development, from fossil fuels to nuclear, wind and solar, have environmental impacts, and regulation is appropriate. But the regulations we’re seeing now are not about managing legitimate risks or addressing real problems. They’re about getting in as much regulation as possible before the clock runs out on the Obama Administration. These regulations taken together make it more difficult to operate, particularly on federal lands.

Western Energy Alliance just finished wading through 2,007 pages of dense regulatory language regarding methane rules from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and three onshore orders from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). Meanwhile, new Rights-of-Way rules from the Bureau of Indian Affairs have been finalized, and a few other minor regulations are rounding out the year, with one from the National Park Service due on December 28th. Speaking of Christmas presents, we expect BLM will propose a venting and flaring rule in time for the holidays.

In the new year, we’ll deliver comments on retroactive National Environmental Policy Act analysis on leases sold back in 2004 in Colorado’s White River National Forest. BLM refuses to grant more time to comment, even though it’s taking the unprecedented step of canceling leases over a decade old, many with production on them.

We expect other regulations as well in the New Year, such as royalty rate and fee increases, but for the time being we can take a bit of a holiday break. Even a President who can order the oceans to stop rising can’t get bureaucrats to work over the holidays. Wishing you all the best this holiday season and a prosperous new year!