Letters & Comments

Letters and Comments, Methane, Taxes Sep 7, 2021

On behalf of the companies and associations that make up the natural gas supply chain and the 180 million Americans and the 5.5 million businesses that rely on natural gas, we would like to express our concerns about including a methane emissions fee or tax in budget reconciliation legislation. Through numerous programs and initiatives, our companies are at the forefront of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, including methane. Moreover, natural gas is responsible for 61% of cumulative carbon dioxide emissions savings due to changes in the electricity generation fuel mix.

The industry is committed to continuing its efforts to minimize methane emissions across the U.S. economy. However, the methane fee framework currently being considered would introduce a regressive tax on low-income and fixed-income Americans, ignore existing and anticipated federal regulations on methane emissions, and lessen available capital for our companies’ ongoing investments in further reducing methane emissions.

New fees or taxes on energy companies will raise costs for customers, creating a burden that will fall most heavily on lower-income Americans. While we appreciate that the details of the methane fee proposal are still under development, based on similar proposals introduced earlier this Congress, we estimate that the fee could amount to tens of billions of dollars annually. These major new costs most likely will result in higher bills for natural gas customers, including families, small businesses, and power generators. In one scenario, we estimate that such a fee could result in the average customer seeing an approximate increase of 17% in their natural gas bill, or over $100 per year for the average American family. We also estimate that the proposal could put more than 100,000 American jobs at risk. …

Letters and Comments Sep 3, 2021

Dear Ms. Christensen and Ms. Jensen:

The Waters Advocacy Coalition (“WAC” or “Coalition”) provides these recommendations in response to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (“EPA’s”) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ (“Corps’”) notice soliciting pre-proposal feedback on defining “waters of the United States” (“WOTUS”) under the Clean Water Act (“CWA”).

The Coalition’s members are committed to both building modern, resilient infrastructure and protecting and restoring America’s wetlands and waters and we believe that a clear regulation that draws bright lines between federal and state waters will help further those goals. The Coalition represents a diverse cross-section of the nation’s agriculture, construction, transportation, real estate, mining, manufacturing, forestry, energy, recreational, wildlife conservation, and public health and safety sectors—all of which are vital to a thriving national economy and provide much needed jobs. If the Administration and our nation are to meet our ambitious climate and infrastructure objectives, more must be done to ensure that federal permitting is sustainable and effective, consistent with current statutory authority and legal precedent. We have commented extensively on prior rules, including the Navigable Waters Protection Rule (“NWPR”); the proposal to repeal the 2015 Clean Water Rule (“2015 Rule”);the proposed 2015 Rule; the 2011 Draft Guidance on Identifying Waters Protected by the Clean Water Act; the 2008 Guidance on Clean Water Act Jurisdiction After Rapanos; and the 2003 Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on the Clean Water Act Definition of “Waters of the United States.” Most of the Coalition’s individual members have also submitted their own comments on these proposals. Through these individual and collective efforts, the Coalition’s members possess a wealth of expertise directly relevant to the Agencies’ efforts to define WOTUS. Our ask has remained steadfast: we need clear rules to protect clean water. …

Endangered Species, Letters and Comments Sep 1, 2021

On Wednesday, September 1, 2021, IPAA submitted comments to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services’ (FWS) proposed rules for listing two distinct populations of the Lesser Prairie Chicken (LPC) as threatened with a 4(d) rule and endangered under the Endangered Species Act. IPAA argued against listing the bird as extensive work is ongoing for conservation efforts through the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies and the use of Candidate Conservation Agreements with Assurances. Furthermore, studies are ongoing about current bird populations that would be useful to the FWS for making an informed decision on listing.

Federal Lands, Letters and Comments, Methane, Regulations, Taxes Aug 31, 2021

Dear Chairman Grijalva:

The fight over the reconciliation legislation is one of the most consequential debates the women and men who work in America’s oil and natural gas patch have faced in decades.  The reconciliation package being considered by the House Natural Resources Committee establishes new onerous regulatory requirements and penalties on the industry.  Although the supporters of the bill claim these efforts are focused on environmental protection, this legislation has nothing to do with addressing climate change or protecting the environment.  This legislation has one purpose, to decimate America’s oil and natural gas producers that operate on onshore and offshore federal lands. 

Our nation’s oil and natural gas explorers and producers are committed to protecting the environment, reducing methane emissions and supporting jobs in local communities across the nation.  All of that will be lost if the budget reconciliation package is approved.  IPAA is strongly opposed to the budget reconciliation measure being considered by the Committee and urge all members to oppose this legislation

Letters and Comments, Methane Aug 12, 2021

The following comments are submitted on behalf of the Gas and Oil Association of WV, Inc. (GOWV), the Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA) and Texas Independent Producers and Royalty Owners Association (TIPRO). Representatives of GO-WV, IPAA and TIPRO served as Small Entity Representatives (SERs) in the Small Business Advocacy Review Panel Process (SBAR Process) participating in the Pre-Panel Outreach Meeting on June 29, 2021; Panel Outreach Meeting on July 29, 2021 (SBAR Panel), and submitting certain comments after the June meeting. These comments are in response to information provided during both meetings. GO-WV, IPAA, and TIPRO appreciate the opportunity to serve as SERs, hopefully reducing the economic impact of the revisions to Subpart OOOO and/or Subpart OOOOa. A significant number or GO-WV, IPAA and TIPRO members not only qualify as “small entities” under the Regulatory Flexibility Act, but would also be characterized as “mom and pop” or family businesses. It is these smaller businesses that stand to lose the most by the regulations to be proposed at the end of September. …

Summary of Key Points:

• EPA continues to lack emissions data on low production wells to support regulatory decisions – but more data is close at hand.

• Exploring subcategorization of sources is warranted, if not obligated, and perhaps represents the most appropriate means to protect the environment while permitting and supporting small business which support rural communities and our country’s energy independence.

• Don’t “fix” what is not broken/don’t let “perfection” be the enemy of the good: EPA and the oil/gas industry have worked together for at least a decade on New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) focused on volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and/or methane emissions from the industry and progress has been made.

Federal Lands, Letters and Comments Aug 10, 2021

The Independent Petroleum Association of America (“IPAA”) thanks you for this opportunity to submit comments on the Office of Natural Resources Revenue’s (“ONRR’s”) proposal1 to withdraw the ONRR Valuation Reform and Civil Penalty Rule. IPAA is the leading national upstream trade association representing approximately eight thousand independent oil and natural gas producers and service companies across the United States. Independent producers generally include non-integrated oil and gas companies that receive nearly all revenue from production at the wellhead. IPAA’s members operate in 33 states and offshore and employ an average of just 12 people.

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. This purpose includes advocating for rational and fair policies on the valuation of royalties on oil and gas from Federal and Indian leases. …

Letters and Comments Aug 2, 2021

This letter provides comments from the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (“AFPM”), the American Petroleum Institute (“API”), the American Exploration and Production Council (“AXPC”), and the Independent Petroleum Association of America (“IPAA”) (collectively, “the Associations”) in response to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s request for comment on reconsidering and revising the Agency’s 2020 Clean Water Act Section 401 Certification Rule1 (“401 Certification Rule”). As explained in more detail below, the 401 Certification Rule provided long-overdue clarification on the role of states and other certifying authorities under Section 401 of the Clean Water Act (“CWA” or “the Act”).

The clarifications furnished in the 401 Certification Rule were also necessary to address some states’ misuse of Section 401 certification procedures in pursuit of policy goals wholly distinct from considerations of potential water quality impacts. Indeed, the 401 Certification Rule was also necessary to incorporate a growing body of case law interpreting Section 401 of the Act consistent with Congress’s intent to preserve for states a highly circumscribed role in evaluating a proposed project’s potential impacts on certain enumerated CWA provisions.

The Associations therefore recommend EPA refrain from altogether setting aside the 401 Certification Rule. If EPA intends to promulgate revisions to portions of the 401 Certification Rule, we urge the Agency to do so in a way that adheres to congressional intent, conforms to relevant current and pending court decisions, and restrains misuse of Section 401 certification procedures. Indeed, as EPA considers revisions to the 401 Certification Rule, we are optimistic that the Agency will recognize that Congress did not intend CWA Section 401 to allow a single state to wield disproportionate power over projects of national importance, and to further recognize that the imposition of reasonable limits on the disproportionate use of Section 401 certification authority is consistent with the principles of cooperative federalism.

Letters and Comments Jul 30, 2021

“For over the past eleven years IPAA has been actively engaged in working with the EPA to promulgate NSPS for the oil and natural gas sector that are cost-effective, reasonable and justified under the CAA. IPAA’s message has been clear and consistent: EPA’s “one-size-fits all” approach to regulating the oil and natural gas industry is inappropriate and disproportionally impacts conventional operations, low production wells, and small businesses. IPAA has advocated for cost effective management of industry air emissions – Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) and methane – and has a long history of participation in voluntary programs that are cost-effective. Unlike many industries, the oil and natural gas industry’s “product” is essentially the same “pollutant” that EPA has sought to control. The oil and natural gas industry has a pure economic incentive to prevent every molecule of “pollutant” from escaping to the atmosphere. What IPAA has consistently sought is cost-effective regulations justified by the authority entrusted to the EPA by the Clean Air Act (CAA), tailored to the unique aspects of the industry.

“The deliberations regarding the structure of federal regulation of oil and natural gas production air emissions continue to evolve. Congress’ recent action to pass a Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution to rescind EPA regulations that changed the regulatory target to Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) largely settles a recurring question in the regulatory structure. Oil and natural gas production regulations will now be largely directed to manage emissions using methane as the targeted emissions. Focusing on methane emissions is consistent with Executive Order 13990, “Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis.” This Executive Order directs the Agency to reduce emissions of methane and other air pollutants from new and existing sources in the oil and natural gas sector. Two predominant elements of those efforts will be reconsideration of technical changes to Subpart OOOOa (Oil and Gas Sector: Emissions Standards for New, Reconstructed, and Modified Sources) and the development of emissions guidelines under Section 111(d) of the CAA.

“The debate over the choice of VOC or methane as the regulatory target has been intense and acrimonious, sometimes hyperbolic. Much of the tension related to the implications of the choice on the regulation of existing oil and natural gas wellsites. That debate is now over. The next steps must turn to the development of cost effective regulations. …”

Supplemental Comments

Infrastructure, Letters and Comments Jul 28, 2021

Dear Ms. Coyle:

The undersigned organizations appreciate the opportunity to comment on the Council on Environmental Quality’s (CEQ) June 29, 2021, interim final rule, “Deadline for Agencies to Propose Updates to National Environmental Policy Act Procedures,” (the “Delay Rule”).1 We support the environmental stewardship goals of NEPA and are concerned that the Delay Rule will create confusion and uncertainty and ultimately lead to further delays in agency decisionmaking, associated infrastructure construction, and economic development for the Nation and communities that need it most.

Letters and Comments, Offshore Jul 14, 2021

Dear Chairman Grijalva and Ranking Member Westerman,

On behalf of the Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA), I write to oppose H.R. 3764, a bill to direct the Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to provide for ocean-based climate solutions to reduce carbon emissions and global warming. IPAA is a national upstream trade association representing thousands of independent oil and natural gas producers and service companies across the United States and offshore. Independent producers develop 90 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.

H.R. 3764 restricts access to areas for offshore oil and gas production by prohibiting leasing as well as geological or geophysical activities in support of oil and natural gas on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) except in the Central and Western planning areas of the Gulf of Mexico. This ban on production will have far reaching effects not just for oil and natural gas producers but will also severely impact coastal state budgets, the Land and Wildlife Conservation Fund which receives one hundred percent of its funding from offshore receipts, and the Federal Treasury.

H.R. 3764 goes on to fast-track designations of new National Marine Sanctuaries and include Marine Protected Areas, further limiting access for multiple-use activities. While the Congressional Budget Office has not given an official score yet, conservative estimates believe H.R. 3764 will create an additional $19 Billion of discretionary spending while hampering the economic contribution of the oil and natural gas industry at the same time.

For these reasons, IPAA is strongly opposed to H.R. 3764.

 

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