U.S. Oil, Gas Producers Request Public Hearing on Endangered Species, Form Industry Task Force

News Media Contact
Julia Bell /
202.857.4722 / 800.433.2851

For Immediate Release
November 5, 2012

The Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA), concerned that new endangered or threatened animal species listings could harm future U.S. oil and natural gas exploration and production, today sent a letter to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) requesting a public forum on the agency’s future plans regarding the Endangered Species Act.  IPAA also recently set up an industry task force to coordinate advocacy and education efforts on the issue of endangered species.

In a letter (full text below and attached), IPAA President and CEO Barry Russell wrote to the FWS:  “IPAA understands that FWS is obligated to meet certain deadlines as part of the court approved settlement; yet there is very little transparency afforded to the public on which species are coming up for review. The pure depth and breadth of these settlement agreements could harm our membership and create uncertainty in the development of domestic oil and natural gas.”

The IPAA Endangered Species Act Task force is comprised of large and small independent oil and natural gas companies, as well as state and regional trade associations.  IPAA is also a member of the National Endangered Species Act Reform Coalition, which represents a broad range of business, agriculture and consumer groups.

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 INDEPENDENT PETROLEUM ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA

November 5, 2012

The Honorable Daniel Ashe
Director
Fish and Wildlife Service
1849 C Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C.  20240

Dear Director Ashe:

The Independent Petroleum Association of American (IPAA) writes to express its concerns regarding the continued lack of transparency with respect to timing and plans for listing decisions on candidate species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) as part of implementation of settlement agreements between the Fish and Wildlife Service and Center for Biological Diversity and Wild Earth Guardians.

As you know, in September of 2011, the Federal District Court approved settlements between Fish and Wildlife Service, Wild Earth Guardians and Center for Biological Diversity. By 2016, FWS must complete review of 250 candidate species for final listing and complete other actions on listing, critical habitat petitions, and other actions for over 1000 species.

IPAA understands that FWS is obligated to meet certain deadlines as part of the court approved settlement; yet there is very little transparency afforded to the public on which species are coming up for review. The pure depth and breadth of these settlement agreements could harm our membership and create uncertainty in the development of domestic oil and natural gas.

While independent oil and natural gas producers range in size from one-or-two person private companies up to larger, publicly traded firms, the average independent producer has been in business for 26 years, employs 11 full-time and three part-time people.  Independent oil and natural gas producers drill 95 percent of the wells in the United States each year.  As you know, data regarding ESA decisions typically requires a considerable amount of time and providing certainty and transparency would allow our membership to make informed decisions regarding these species.

Respectfully, IPAA requests that the FWS host a public forum to discuss the current review of species under consideration under the settlement agreements as well as discuss its work plan moving forward through 2016.

Sincerely,

Barry Russell
President & CEO

IPAA is the leading, national upstream trade association representing oil and natural gas producers that drill 95 percent of the nation’s oil and natural gas wells. These companies account for 54 percent of America’s oil production and 85 percent of its natural gas production. For more information, visit www.ipaa.org.