Letters & Comments

Infrastructure, Letters and Comments Nov 19, 2020

Dear Majority Leader McConnell and Democratic Leader Schumer:

The undersigned organizations represent a broad constituency of industries, companies, and labor unions who build and provide equipment, materials, supplies, services and human capital to energy infrastructure projects. Our broad group relies on that infrastructure to produce and deliver the energy that powers America.

We ask you to schedule floor votes as soon as possible to confirm new commissioners to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to fill current vacancies. The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee recently cleared both a Republican and a Democratic nominee with bipartisan support, and their nominations now await a vote by the full Senate.

FERC plays a critical role in ensuring that Americans have access to reliable and affordable energy. The Commission reviews and permits certain new interstate infrastructure projects and expansions intended to modernize existing energy transportation systems. FERC also reviews and approves rates and services for interstate energy infrastructure companies. The COVID-19 pandemic has emphasized the importance of affordable and reliable energy, and energy infrastructure will play an essential role in supporting America’s economic recovery…

Infrastructure, Letters and Comments Nov 16, 2020

We embrace our responsibility to protect the planet, build inclusive communities and grow a sustainable, strong economy that is powered by a diverse energy and manufacturing portfolio, unmatched by any other nation in the world. Building modern, resilient infrastructure through innovation and responsible development has long been a priority. We have established a strong record in environmental protection and economic development which is why we, the undersigned organizations, submit the following comments to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (“Corps”) in support of the proposed rule to “Reissue and Modify Nationwide Permits.”

Our members have a substantial and direct interest in the outcome of this rulemaking and are calling for smart regulations that protect the environment, create jobs, drive innovation and ensure a better quality of life for everyone. To accomplish these goals, regulations governing our nation’s land, water and infrastructure must be designed with the utmost care to ensure that regulations are effective in achieving their desired objectives, while simultaneously avoiding unnecessary environmental, social and economic impacts. A strong nationwide permitting program will continue to ensure that our nation can prosper and grow sustainably and responsibly.

Infrastructure, Letters and Comments Nov 16, 2020

The Waters Advocacy Coalition (“WAC” or “Coalition”) offers the following comments on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ (“Corps”) Proposal to Reissue and Modify Nationwide Permits, 85 Fed. Reg. 57,298 (Sept. 15, 2020). WAC represents a large cross-section of America’s construction, transportation, real estate, mining, manufacturing, forestry, agriculture, energy, wildlife conservation, and public health and safety sectors—all of which are vital to a thriving economy and provide much-needed jobs.1 WAC members’ activities, projects, and operations are often subject to regulation under Clean Water Act (“CWA”) section 404, 33 U.S.C. § 1344, and Coalition members frequently rely on nationwide permits (“NWPs”) to comply with the CWA. WAC’s comments on the Corps’ proposal are limited to ensuring consistency between the NWPs and the Navigable Waters Protection Rule (“NWPR”) that the Corps and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency finalized earlier this year.

I. The Coalition Supports the NWP Program, Which Furthers Congress’s Intent to Allow the Corps to Focus Its Limited Resources on Activities Resulting in More than Minimal Impacts.

II. The Corps Should Clarify Certain Definitions and Concepts Related to the NWPR.

III. The Proposed Revision to General Condition 23 (Mitigation) Is Not Necessary to Ensure No More than Minimal Adverse Impacts.

IV . Conclusion

WAC appreciates the opportunity to submit these comments. Subject to the requested clarifications above, WAC generally supports the Corps’ proposal to reissue NWPs, which would continue to carry out Congress’s intent to allow more streamlined section 404 permitting for activities that have minimal adverse environmental effects. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the undersigned.

Infrastructure, Letters and Comments Nov 16, 2020

“The Associations” together represent a broad spectrum of the oil and natural gas industry, including but not limited to entities involved In upstream, midstream, downstream refining, marketing, and petrochemical operations as well as market development/Liquified Natural Gas (“LNG”) activities. We are pleased to submit comments on the proposal to reissue and modify Nationwide Permits (“NWPs”) (“Proposal”) by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (“USACE”).

Our comments represent a thorough assessment of the NWPs significant to our industry, as well as a comprehensive review of over 40 states’ regional conditions. Our comments contain extensive citations to the current proposal, applicable statutes and regulations, relevant case law, and an annex encompassing our District submissions regarding the proposed regional conditions in 44 states and 2 U.S. territories. To aid review, we have included a concise Executive Summary, as well as a Table of Contents with helpful headings.

While we support the NWP program as essential to the U.S. economy and a strong motivator for developers to design projects In a way that reduces environmental impacts, we regrettably cannot support the proposed division of NWP 12 Into three separate permits. The proposed division contains multiple fundamental definitional issues that will certainly confuse both applicants and USACE staff. Moreover, the varying conditions in the federal proposal and multiple USACE Districts validate this confusion, and could be vulnerable to arbitrary and capriciousness challenges because the same 12-inch pipe (with similar and often indistinguishable impacts to aquatic resources within the USACE’s jurisdiction) would be treated differently based solely on the contents of that pipe (which is outside the jurisdiction of the USACE). Finally, the economics support a single combined permit – as the USACE’s proposal Identified no cost savings from the division and seems to have significantly underestimated the costs associated with implementing a division based on ambiguous definitions and a lack of clarity among districts as well as even among individual states within districts. We therefore believe the most expeditious route for the USACE to address these deficiencies is to simply reissue the 2017 version of NWP 12 for all utility lines with a new effective date, and we urge the USACE to do so without delay.

Letters and Comments Nov 9, 2020

On November 9, IPAA, in partnership with API, Western Energy Alliance, and other allied trades submitted comments to the record for the Trump Administration rule rewrites on Oil and Gas Site Security, Oil Measurement, and Gas Measurement Regulations. These Onshore Orders were revised during the Obama Administration without taking into consideration the full scope that the rules would impose collectively.  The Trump administration rewrite brings the regulations back in line with accepted standards and looks at onshore orders holistically, not individually.

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. . …

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.