Letters & Comments

Letters and Comments Sep 4, 2020

This letter provides comments from the American Petroleum Institute (“API”) and the Independent Petroleum Association of America (“IPAA”) (collectively, “the Associations”) in response to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (“FWS’s”) and National Marine Fisheries Service’s (“NMFS’s”) (collectively “the Services”) proposal to define “habitat” in the Services’ regulations implementing the Endangered Species Act (“ESA” or “the Act”). The Associations appreciate the opportunity to submit comments on this important effort to develop a regulatory definition to an undefined statutory term, and to do so in a way that can help ensure that the Services’ critical habitat designations are clear, transparent, and consistent with the ESA’s requirements.

Letters and Comments Aug 10, 2020

IPAA, along with a number of state oil and gas associations, submitted comments on the Natural Gas Regulatory Reform notice of proposed rulemaking issued by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA). IPAA’s comments focus on actions PHMSA can take to remove burdensome, inefficient regulation of farm taps, which PHMSA classifies as distribution lines. These comments follow June comments on PHMSA’s proposed responses to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) regarding farm taps. While it is unlikely that the regulatory reform rule could be finalized within this current Administration, IPAA is pushing PHMSA to address our concerns in finalizing the FAQs, which can be done more expeditiously.  These FAQs would not have the force of regulation, but would provide guidance to inspectors.

Letters and Comments Jul 30, 2020

TO THE MEMBERS OF THE UNITED STATES CONGRESS:

The undersigned organizations urge you to support the timely, targeted, and temporary liability relief provisions contained in S. 4317, the “SAFE TO WORK Act.” These crucial protections would safeguard healthcare workers, providers, and facilities, as well as businesses, non-profit organizations, and educational institutions against unfair lawsuits so they can continue to contribute to a safe and effective economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. This legislation is critically needed and should be enacted as soon as possible. To that end, we strongly urge you to support the inclusion of these provisions in a Phase IV COVID-19 relief package.

Letters and Comments Jul 23, 2020

IPAA was one of 41 organizations to sign a coalition letter organized by the U.S. Chamber that was sent to congressional offices today stating strong opposition an appropriations bill (H.R. 7608) amendment prohibiting funding to implement CEQ’s NEPA final rulemaking that was announced last week. The signers of the letter show how broad support is for NEPA reform, with groups ranging far beyond energy, including organizations that represent many sectors of agriculture, construction, manufacturing, and transportation.

The letter reads:
“TO THE MEMBERS OF THE U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES:
“The undersigned trade associations and labor unions oppose amendment #72 to Division C of H.R. 7608, the first package of appropriations legislation that would block implementation of recently completed reforms to National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) regulations. These important reforms will ensure a federal permitting process that is predictable and transparent, where “go” or “no go” decisions are made in a reasonable timeframe, and facilitates getting Americans back to work rebuilding critical infrastructure that will move people, goods, energy and information. …
“The NEPA updates are critically important to a broad group of stakeholders including agriculture, construction, manufacturing, building trades unions, renewable and conventional energy, surface transportation, and broadband. We remain committed to working with legislators, regulators, and all stakeholders to return NEPA to its original intent-a timely and focused review of environmental impacts-rather than a tool to delay projects for years and even decades. We urge you to oppose any amendment to FY2021 appropriations language such as amendment #72 that would block these important NEPA updates.”

Letters and Comments Jul 23, 2020

“The undersigned trade associations and labor unions oppose amendment #72 to Division C of H.R. 7608, the first package of appropriations legislation that would block implementation of recently completed reforms to National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) regulations. These important reforms will ensure a federal permitting process that is predictable and transparent, where “go” or “no go” decisions are made in a reasonable timeframe, and facilitates getting Americans back to work rebuilding critical infrastructure that will move people, goods, energy and information. . …

Endangered Species, Letters and Comments Jul 20, 2020

IPAA members take species conservation seriously and work actively to protect the environment and habitats where they operate and live. Many independent companies have Fish and Wildlife-approved Avian Protection Plans and have spent millions on the conservation of listed and candidate species. Many other industries, such as wind and electric transmission companies, share this commitment, but face legal ramifications due to expanded interpretation of the MBTA. Finalizing a regulation that affirms the Solicitor’s Opinion, M-37050, is an important step to clarify the legal role of the MBTA to support species protection, while limiting inappropriate legal impacts on otherwise lawful activities from an array of industries. For this reason, IPAA is supportive of the Services’ preferred Alternative A approach which is consistent with the Solicitor’s legal analysis of the scope of the MBTA. Promulgating regulations that define the scope of MBTA to prohibit incidental take actions brings the regulation closer to the original intent of the law, as passed by Congress.

Letters and Comments Jun 19, 2020

While production does not fall under the jurisdiction of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (“PHMSA”), many of PHMSA’s actions affect producers through regulation of gathering and efforts to move the point of regulation upstream toward the wellhead. These FAQs, as proposed, would regulate thousands of natural gas wells. In these comments, IPAA urges PHMSA, first, to reconsider these FAQs as they pertain to gas connections originating from non-jurisdictional production and rural gathering facilities. Second, at the very least, PHMSA should hold off on finalizing these FAQs following completion of the Pipeline Safety: Gas Pipeline Regulatory Reform notice of proposed rulemaking (“NOPR”), published in the June 9, 2020, Federal Register.

Letters and Comments, Methane Jun 3, 2020

These comments are filed in response to supplemental comments filed on April 13, 2020, by the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) for itself and several other professional environmental issues advocacy organizations (EDF 2020 Comments). The EDF 2020 Comments address issues that arise in both the EPA 2018 Reconsideration proposal (EPA-HQ-OAR-2017-0483) and the EPA 2019 Proposed Policy rulemaking (EPA-HQ-OAR-2017-0757). Within the EDF 2020 Comments, there are specific issues related to comments provided by the IPAA. As the IPAA has shown in past comments, the EDF 2020 Comments continue to distort analyses of methane emissions as they seek to cripple American oil and natural gas production through the use of federal regulations that are not supported factually or legally justified.

Review of Major Issues

To put these supplemental comments in context, it is important to review the larger framework of debate and background on these issues…

Letters and Comments May 28, 2020
In a May 28 motion to intervene out-of-time, IPAA called on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to reject the May 1 filing by Northern Border Pipeline to establish a new Btu safe harbor of 1,100 Btu per cubic foot and, when necessary, allow Northern Border to post an upper limit (Docket No. RP20-859).
While safe pipeline operations are vital to shippers, North Dakota producers strongly objected to this proposal at this time.
IPAA noted that well shut-ins may have affected Northern Border’s system to possibly avoid an immediate need for the proposed change. The Btu limit would impose significant costs on North Dakota producers–further shut-ins or additional treatment to remove ethane–at a time when they are least able to shoulder this burden.
From the motion:
“IPAA members produce significant volumes of oil and natural gas in North Dakota’s Bakken area, relying on Northern Border to transport their gas. A restriction in the allowed Btu content would be a market disruption at any time. However, the dramatic downturn in the worldwide energy market overall and the demand for oil and natural gas produced in North Dakota specifically, has created a particularly difficult environment for America’s energy producers. Higher costs will be even harder to withstand…”
Should FERC choose not to reject the filing, IPAA concurred with other producers in seeking the maximum suspension period of 5 months and the prompt scheduling of technical conferences to attempt a resolution that could work for all parties.

Letters and Comments Apr 28, 2020

Gentleman:

The Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA) wants to commend your efforts to implement existing financial assistance authority under prior laws and the new authorities under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) to assist distressed businesses through the country. IPAA represents the thousands of American independent producers and the service industries that support them. These industries are confronting the harsh implications of demand destruction as a result of the worldwide shutdown of economies compounded by the crude oil price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia. These events have created economic chaos that bears little resemblance to the traditional marketplace for energy.

Over the past several weeks, your organizations have begun the process of evaluating approaches to assure that the distressed companies in the energy industry have fair access to the resources created by the CARES Act. Some press reports have questioned whether support exists within the oil and natural gas production industry for these actions. IPAA wants to assure you that it supports efforts that will allow for the recovery of America’s oil and natural gas industry – a recovery that is essential for the effective recovery of the American and world economies. These American independent producers develop 91 percent of the nation’s oil and natural gas wells. These companies account for 83 percent of America’s oil production, 90 percent of its natural gas and natural gas liquids (NGL) production, and support over 4.5 million American jobs.

IPAA requests that your organizations continue your actions to allow these companies access to the financial resources created by your prior efforts and the CARES Act. Early information indicates that over 50,000 jobs have already been lost and hundreds of thousands more are at risk…

IPAA is the industry's strongest presence in the nation's capital and these are important times. The entire oil and gas industry remains under fire from anti-development groups; but with these challenges arise unique opportunities that IPAA is seizing for our members.