Letters & Comments

Letters and Comments Oct 21, 2019

Dear Sir/Madam:

This letter provides comments from the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (“AFPM”), the American Exploration and Production Council (“AXPC”), the American Petroleum Institute (“API”), the Domestic Energy Producers Alliance (“DEPA”), and the
Independent Petroleum Association of America (“IPAA”) (collectively, “the Associations”), in response to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (“EPA’s” or “The Agency’s”) Request for Comments on the Agency’s Proposed Rule Updating Regulations for Water Quality Certifications under Section 401 of the Clean Water Act (“CWA” or “the Act”). The Associations appreciate EPA’s efforts to provide long overdue updates to the regulations governing water quality certifications as well as the Agency’s commitment to pursue these regulatory reforms through transparent stakeholder engagement.

I. SUMMARY OF COMMENTS

The Associations support EPA’s proposed updates to its regulations governing water quality certifications under Section 401 of the CWA. These changes matter greatly to the Associations and their members. Our members are on the forefront of a transformational era of increased domestic oil and natural gas production. The growth of domestic oil and natural gas production and our ability to responsibly develop these resources in new areas of the country have created the need for more infrastructure to safely bring these resources to consumers, refineries, and processing facilities. For all but the staunchest opponents of any oil and natural gas developments, expanding and updating America’s energy infrastructure is viewed as a prudent investment for the safe and environmentally responsible movement of important resources to areas that need those resources. For those opposed to any oil or natural gas development, America’s energy infrastructure needs are viewed as little more than convenient opportunities to deploy regulatory strategies designed to delay needed projects and sever resources from markets. And increasingly, those regulatory tactics include use of the Section 401 certification process to attempt to delay, constrain, or altogether veto nationally important energy projects.

Letters and Comments Oct 21, 2019

“Dear Administrator Wheeler:

The Natural Gas Council submits this letter in response to the proposed rule published by the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) on August 22, 2019, that proposes to update and clarify the substantive and procedural requirements for water quality certification under
Clean Water Act (“CWA”) Section 401. As representatives of the full spectrum of the natural gas industry—producers, suppliers, pipelines and local gas utilities—the members of the Natural Gas Council support EPA’s efforts to restore a level of predictability and balance to the
permitting of natural gas infrastructure. Providing guidance and instruction on the appropriate process by which Section 401 is implemented is critical for the development of natural gas infrastructure.

The United States is the leading natural gas producer in the world. Greater use of natural gas in the United States and abroad, through liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports, has yielded tremendous benefits to our economy. One of the central elements in realizing the full value of natural gas produced in the United States is the continued development of a robust natural gas infrastructure along the entire value chain so that natural gas can be delivered wherever and whenever it is needed. The need for new energy infrastructure has never been more important because its development delivers countless opportunities to communities across America. Moving all energy resources safely, affordably, efficiently, and reliably requires a modern and highly interconnected system and delays in permitting projects, such as natural gas infrastructure projects, hinders the advancement of critical infrastructure…”

Letters and Comments Oct 8, 2019

On Tuesday, October 8, IPAA joined a broad coalition of energy infrastructure stakeholders in writing to EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler urging adoption of the new Clean Water Act Section 401 rules. Organized by the Energy Equipment & Infrastructure Alliance, letter signers included eight labor unions and 19 trade organizations.

“…We strongly support the Proposed Rule and its provisions that clarify requirements for state and tribal implementation of Section 401 of the Clean Water Act. The Rule is needed to provide clarity, consistency and certainty in the process for certification that energy and other infrastructure construction projects comply with applicable water quality standards.

“In the absence of definitive boundaries, some states have taken advantage of ambiguity in Section 401 to deny certification on grounds outside the Section’s purposes and intent. This has resulted in delay or cancellation of vitally needed energy infrastructure projects that would otherwise have provided consumers and our environment the tremendous benefits of increased access to affordable clean energy.

“For our industries and trades, denial or delay of certification of critical energy infrastructure projects on grounds beyond those intended by the statute has resulted in large-scale loss of work, stranded investments in equipment and materials, and inability of our businesses and workforce to plan for efficient deployment and utilization of both human and capital assets. This has deprived our families, communities and the economy of the very substantial benefits that construction and operation of the affected projects would otherwise have driven…”

Infrastructure, Letters and Comments Aug 12, 2019

The Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA) submits the following comments in response to the Railroad Commission (RRC) informal draft of revised pipeline safety regulations for oil and natural gas pipelines. IPAA is a national upstream trade association representing thousands of independent oil and natural gas producers and service companies across the United States. 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.

While IPAA focuses its advocacy efforts at the federal level, IPAA works closely with state associations representing America’s oil and natural gas producers. The RRC draft has significant implications for how oil and natural gas is produced and transported in Texas. However, given the preeminent role that Texas oil and natural gas producers play in our country’s prominence in energy production, the RRC draft would have effects nationwide, in terms of increased costs, potential reduced production, and likely precedential effects for other state oil and natural gas regulators. IPAA appreciates the significance of the RRC’s role—in its stewardship of natural resources and the environment; its concern for personal and community safety; and its support of enhanced development and economic vitality for the benefit of Texans. IPAA focuses these brief comments on ensuring that the safe production and transport of oil and natural gas is accomplished with the appropriate balance between managing risk and compliance costs.

Letters and Comments, Regulations, Taxes Aug 2, 2019

One of IPAA’s primary purposes is to advocate for its members’ interests in continued and responsible oil and gas development before Congress and federal agencies and in the judicial system. (Id.) This purpose includes advocating for rational and fair policies on the valuation of royalties on oil and gas from Federal and Indian leases.

On federal, Indian, state, and private land, IPAA’s members develop over 91 percent of domestic oil and gas wells, produce 83 percent of domestic oil, and produce 90 percent of domestic natural gas.

In the next few weeks, IPAA’s members will be required to begin complying with a final rule that the Department of the Interior (“Department”) issued entitled Consolidated Federal Oil & Gas and Federal Indian & Coal Valuation Reform, 81 Fed. Reg. 43,338 (July 1, 2016) (“Rule”). Compliance will impose massive unrecoverable costs on IPAA members who lease, produce, transport, pay royalties
on, or are otherwise involved with Federal oil and gas. (Naatz Decl. ¶ 5.) IPAA estimates its members are likely to suffer unrecoverable injuries of at least $100 million in compliance costs if the Rule is not preliminarily enjoined.

With regard to the Rule itself, IPAA joined with the American Petroleum Institute (“API”) and the National Ocean Industries Association in comments on the proposed rule preceding the adoption of the final Rule…

Letters and Comments Jul 1, 2019

Re: Comments on Proposed Rule to Reclassify the American Burying Beetle (Nicrophorus americanus) from Endangered to Threatened on the Federal List and Proposed Endangered Species Act Section 4(d) Rule FWS-R2-ES-2018-0029


IPAA supports the proposed rules to downlist and reclassify the American Burying Beetle from “endangered” to “threatened” status. IPAA respectfully submits our comments with the attached report ( ASL-IPAA-TPPF-Carothers-Beetle-Delist-Petition-2015.pdf (41 downloads) ) conducted by the SWCA Environmental Consultants and commissioned by the IPAA and other parties in 2015. The data in this report is frequently referenced in the comments below.

Letters and Comments Jun 27, 2019

Summary
In considering viable options and opportunities for water reuse, we encourage EPA to consider ways to provide maximum flexibility, certainty, and clarity to the existing regulatory and permitting frameworks applicable to the management of water from all industries (including the oil and natural gas industry). Variability among multi-jurisdictional bodies that regulate water quality and water reuse can result in complex jurisdictional interplays that place inconsistent regulatory burdens upon companies. While respecting that some variation is a natural consequence of cooperative federalism, the draft WRAP should work towards identifying and removing barriers within the federal government’s control that discourage and disincentivize the reuse, recycling, and fit-for-treatment uses of water. We support EPA working with various stakeholders, including the oil and gas sector, to better understand the current regulatory framework as well as the data and knowledge base that is in place.

Below, we provide specific comments following the Discussion Framework’s format on a section by- section basis for your consideration. Based on our extensive experience, we highlight issues, challenges, and recommendations with particular focus on the upstream areas of the oil and gas sector.

Letters and Comments, Methane Jun 17, 2019

Dear Administrator Wheeler:
The following Supplemental Comments are submitted on the above-referenced proposed Reconsideration Rulemaking (“Reconsideration Rulemaking”) on behalf of the following national and state trade associations: the Independent Petroleum Association of America (“IPAA”), American Exploration & Production Council (“AXPC”), Domestic Energy Producers Alliance (“DEPA”), Eastern Kansas Oil & Gas Association (“EKOGA”), Illinois Oil & Gas Association (“IOGA”), Independent Oil and Gas Association of West Virginia, Inc. (“IOGA-WV”), Indiana Oil and Gas Association (“INOGA”), International Association of Drilling Contractors (“IADC”), Kansas Independent Oil & Gas Association (“KIOGA”), Kentucky Oil & Gas Association (“KOGA”), Michigan Oil and Gas Association (“MOGA”), National Stripper Well Association (“NSWA”), North Dakota Petroleum Council (“NDPC”), Ohio Oil and Gas Association (“OOGA”), Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association (“OIPA”), Pennsylvania Independent Oil & Gas Association (“PIOGA”), Texas Alliance of Energy Producers (“Texas Alliance”), Texas Independent Producers & Royalty Owners Association (“TIPRO”), and West Virginia Oil and Natural Gas Association (“WVONGA”) (collectively, “Independent Producers”). The Independent Producers have participated individually or through the Independent Producers in most, if not all, of the rulemakings and associated litigation since the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA” or “Agency”) proposed to revise the New Source Performance Standards (“NSPS”) for the Oil and Natural Gas Sector in August 2011. 76 Fed. Reg. 52,738 (Aug. 23, 2011).1 While many of the Independent Producers represent companies that engage in large volume hydraulic fracturing with horizontal legs, often referred to as unconventional drilling, a significant portion of their membership is also comprised of smaller, family run operations that engage in some form of hydraulic fracturing, involving vertical wells without horizontal legs, referred to as conventional oil or natural gas wells. Many of the individual members constitute small businesses under the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996.

These supplemental comments are filed by the Independent Producers in response to initial comments and supplemental comments filed by others, including some that directly address the Independent Producers initial comments (filed December 17, 2018).

Letters and Comments Jun 7, 2019

Re: Comments of the American Petroleum Institute, the American Exploration & Production Council, the Association of Oil Pipe Lines, the Independent Petroleum Association of America, the Domestic Energy Producers Alliance, and the Marcellus Shale Coalition in Response to the Environmental Protection Agency’s Request for Comments on the Interpretative Statement on Application of the Clean Water Act Discharge Elimination System Program to Releases of Pollutants From a Point Source to Groundwater; EPA-HQ-OW-2019-0166.

Dear Sir/Madam:
This letter provides comments from the American Petroleum Institute (“API”), Association of Oil Pipe Lines (“AOPL”), American Exploration & Production Council (“AXPC”), Independent Petroleum Association of America (“IPAA”), Domestic Energy Producers Alliance (“DEPA”), and the Marcellus Shale Coalition (“MSC”) (collectively, “the Associations”), responding to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (“EPA’s” or “The Agency’s”) Request for Comments on the Interpretative Statement on Application of the Clean Water Act (“CWA” or “the Act”) Discharge Elimination System Program to Releases of Pollutants From a Point Source to Groundwater (“Interpretative Statement”).1 The Associations appreciate both EPA’s efforts to provide long overdue clarification on the scope of the CWA’s National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (“NPDES”) program and the Agency’s commitment to pursue that clarity through transparent
stakeholder engagement.

Letters and Comments May 24, 2019

Re: Comments on Clean Water Act Section 401 Water Quality Certification Rulemaking [Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OW-2018-0855]

To whom it may concern:

The Independent Petroleum Association of America (“IPAA”) submits the following comments for pre-proposal recommendations on the forthcoming Clean Water Act (“CWA”) Section 401 Water Quality Certification rulemaking and guidance from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”).

IPAA represents the thousands of companies that drill 95 percent of America’s onshore and offshore oil and natural gas wells. America’s independents produce 54 percent of American oil and produce 85 percent of American natural gas.  While most IPAA members will not apply directly for a Sec. 401 permit, our members are affected by the process.  When some states misuse their authority as part of a cooperative process, permits are denied and needed infrastructure to transport natural gas is not built….

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.