IPAA: EPA’s Waters of the U.S. Rule Will Hurt America’s Energy Producers

IPAA: EPA’s Waters of the U.S. Rule Will Hurt America’s Energy Producers

Washington, D.C. – Last week, the Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA) submitted joint comments to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) on their proposed rulemaking to revise the definition of “waters of the United States” (WOTUS). IPAA, along with the American Exploration & Production Council (AXPC) and the Western Energy Alliance, filed comments detailing the significant impacts of the proposed EPA/USACE rulemaking on oil and natural gas exploration and production activities.

Despite the agencies’ claims to the contrary, the proposed changes to the WOTUS rule would significantly expand the federal government’s authority over land and water use across the nation, resulting in the need to acquire significantly more government permits and fulfill bureaucratic regulatory requirements. Independent producers – like all land users – will be negatively impacted.

Lee Fuller, Executive Vice President of IPAA, released the following statement after filing the comments on Friday, November 14th:

“Increased federal jurisdiction over nearly all waters in the United States will create substantial permitting and compliance burdens for few environmental benefits. America’s independent producers and job creators will be hit especially hard in the pocketbook because of permitting delays and retroactive construction requirements – making it more difficult to develop America’s natural resources, potentially affecting prices at the pump.

“IPAA encourages the agencies to withdraw their proposed rule and engage in a meaningful dialogue with states and local communities about more reasonable, focused, and clear changes to the existing regulations. It is the hope of independent producers across America that the agencies replace this proposed rule with one that reflects those consultations and is supported by science.”

IPAA’s joint submitted comments on the EPA/USACE proposed rule are structured around three general categories: (1) factual descriptions of the exploration and production operational changes that will result from implementation of the definition of “waters of the United States” as proposed; (2) legal analyses of the proposal relative to case law and policy; and (3) specific comments on representations made in the proposal.

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Neal Kirby

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