API, TXOGA, IPAA, and AXPC Joint Comments to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on its Proposed Additional Banking Guidelines Covering Specific Elements for the Establishment of New Mitigation Banks in the Fort Worth DistrictLetters and Comments Mar 12, 2018
Pursuant to the public notice issued by the United States (“U.S.”) Army, Corps of Engineers (“Corps”) Fort Worth District on January 9, 2018 (“Public Notice”) and as amended on February 1, 2018 with a 30-day extension of the public comment period, the American Petroleum Institute (“API”), the Texas Oil & Gas Association (“TXOGA”), the Independent Petroleum Association of America (“IPAA”) and the American Exploration & Production Council (“AXPC”) hereinafter “the Associations,” respectfully submit these comments on the proposed Additional Guidelines Covering Specific Elements for the Establishment of New Mitigation Banks in the Fort Worth District (“draft Guidelines”). We appreciate your consideration of our request to extend the public comment period. We have taken that opportunity to more carefully review the draft Guidelines. The Associations support the goals of predictability and transparency in mitigation banking. However, the significantly expanded draft Guidelines impose numerous additional unnecessary and unreasonably stringent requirements that will have the following effects: 1) substantially reduce lands available for mitigation banking (thereby hindering conservation goals as well as delaying energy and water infrastructure project development); 2) generate further inefficiencies in an already protracted permitting process; and 3) conflict with existing federal Executive Orders and regulatory reform efforts to promote consistency among the Corps districts. In light of these significant consequences and contemporaneous relevant reform efforts at the federal level, the Associations request that the Fort Worth District refrain from finalizing these draft Guidelines and instead focus on reviewing, modifying, and updating its existing guidance in coordination with the Corps Headquarters and stakeholders.