Letters & Comments

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…

Letters and Comments Apr 15, 2020
On Wednesday, April 15, IPAA President and CEO Barry Russell sent a letter to Chairman of the Federal Reserve Jerome Powell regarding the Main Street Lending Program.
The letter states IPAA “writes to recognize and appreciate the aggressive steps that have been t ken to respond to the threats of the COVID-19 pandemic. As federal, state and local governments continue to work on relief measures, such as the CARES Act, we respectfully request that their implementation consistently supports the American energy industry and protects its workforce….
“As the Federal Reserve is guided in its mandate from Congress to promote maximum employment and stable prices, we are pleased to see your efforts to provide assistance to our nation’s small- and midsized businesses, including many of our members, through the Main Street Lending Program.

“IPAA hopes that you are able to implement this program in a manner that recognizes the critical importance of the energy exploration and production businesses and the variance within the industry regarding financing needs. To that end, IPAA would like to provide input to ensure the program is effective in its support for the economy….

“As currently drafted, the Main Street New Loan Facility contains a key provision that may prevent independent natural gas and oil producers from using these facilities to meet their critical economic needs:

‘The Eligible Borrower must commit to refrain from using the proceeds of the Eligible Loan to repay other loan balances. The Eligible Borrower must commit to refrain from repaying other debt of equal or lower priority, with the exception of mandatory principal payments, unless the Eligible Borrower has first repaid the Eligible Loan in full.’
“IPAA asks that you consider providing flexibility on this provision to otherwise Eligible Borrowers, such as independent producers. Just as the American independent producer has revitalized the country after previous economic hardships, the industry will be essential to restarting our economy after the COVID-19 pandemic has passed…”

Infrastructure, Letters and Comments Mar 25, 2020

Dear Mr. President, Governors, Mayors and other local elected officials:

We recognize and appreciate the aggressive steps that are being taken to respond to the threats of the COVID-19 virus. We represent the manufacturers, distributors and supply chain of the products and raw materials that ensure public health and safety during these times of a pandemic. Protecting our workforce, their families and our communities are our top priorities.

Unfortunately, there are well-intentioned actions being taken at the state and local levels that may fundamentally impede or otherwise threaten the supply of critical products. It is imperative that the federal, state and local governments come together with uniform definitions of “critical infrastructure” making clear what manufacturers must continue to operate, as well as take seriously the need to transport those products and have the workforce available to keep operations running. Curfews that do not consider transportation and workforce needs could quickly become significant barriers to not only supply chains, but also actual supplies. Accordingly, we are asking for the following actions to be coordinated in the most expedient fashion:

Letters and Comments Mar 19, 2020

“…IPAA members take species conservation seriously, and actively work to protect the environment and habitats where they operate. Many independent producers 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. This rule, which 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.

…”

Infrastructure, Letters and Comments, Regulations Mar 6, 2020

The Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA) submits the following comments regarding CEQ’s Proposed Revisions to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Implementing Regulations (85 Federal Register 1684).

Since NEPA’s enactment, the scope of its requirements and application have grown considerably and place a heavy burden on independent oil and natural gas producers operating on federal lands. While the lat itself remains unchanged over the past 50 years, and the regulations remained virtually untouched for the past 40 years, the courts, Presidential directives and agencies’ implementation of the regulations have made NEPA unworkable and far more complicated than the original intent of the law. Modernizing NEPA will help reduced needless delays that hinder American oil and natural gas projects and badly needed infrastructure initiatives across the nation.

CEQ’s proposed changes make critically needed revisions to NEPA’s implementing regulations. These common-sense revisions are long overdue and vitally important…

Letters and Comments Feb 3, 2020

Underpinning the ability to make timely investments in our natural gas delivery system is the Natural Gas Act, which provides a clear road map for how new energy infrastructure is evaluated and built. The consumer and environmental benefits, economic and job growth, and increased national security attributable to natural gas abundance would not have been possible without the Natural Gas Act’s framework for energy infrastructure development.

As Congress examines how energy policy can harness America’s energy abundance, support job creation, advance our nation’s geopolitical priorities and meet pressing environmental challenges, we urge policymakers to recognize the contributions made possible by natural gas infrastructure.

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.