Through civil and criminal prosecution, the EPA will continue to ramp up its enforcement efforts against the oil and gas industry in 2015, with producers likely facing strict and focused enforcement of the new emissions regulations. Producers, beware
Houston, Texas (PRWEB) March 16, 2015
In a March 2 column for Oil & Gas Monitor online, veteran attorneys with the Houston office of national law firm LeClairRyan outline a raft of existing or potential regulations that could affect oil and gas companies in 2015 and beyond.
“At any given time, the collection of different laws and regulations that could potentially affect this broad industry is quite expansive,” LeClairRyan shareholder Staton M. Childers and associate Gage Fender write in the column titled ‘Here We Go Again’: Oil and Gas Sector to Face New Regs in 2015.’ “After all, when someone speaks of ‘the oil and gas industry,’ that person isn’t simply referencing some narrowly defined zone of activity; instead, the term points to a wide and multi-faceted collection of distinct operations that make up the total process of delivering natural resources from ground to market. These activities—all of which are covered by distinct and ever-evolving regulatory frameworks of their own—include manufacturing, geological services and oil-field services, to name just a few.”
In the column, the oil and gas industry attorneys describe existing or potential regulatory changes such as:
1. New OSHA workplace injury reporting requirements that require employers to notify OSHA whenever any employee is killed on the job or suffers a work-related hospitalization, amputation or loss of an eye. This marks a departure from prior rules, which required employers to report all work-related fatalities, but only in-patient hospitalizations involving three or more employees.
2. The continued evolution of state and local fracking regulations, with examples of recent bans and other changes in Texas, California, Maryland and Michigan. “Clearly, concerns over the environmental impact of fracking have increased, with a strong focus on aquifers, surface water and groundwater—particularly those that relate to drinking water sources,” the attorneys note.
3. Tougher reporting requirements on so-called “conflict minerals” (i.e. minerals extracted in conflict zones and considered to be a source of funding for further fighting). In the column, Childers and Fender describe new SEC reporting requirements that could directly affect certain manufacturers of products widely used in the oil and gas sectors.
4. Federal game-changers, including the EPA drive to set standards for both methane and volatile organic compounds (VOC) emissions. “This will apply to emissions from new and modified oil and gas production sources, as well as natural gas processing and transmission sources,” the attorneys note. “Through civil and criminal prosecution, the EPA will continue to ramp up its enforcement efforts against the oil and gas industry in 2015, with producers likely facing strict and focused enforcement of the new emissions regulations. Producers, beware.”
The full article is available at:
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