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Washington “Insighter”

The Administration’s Regulatory “To-Do List”

Several times a year, the White House publishes a schedule of the major regulations federal departments and agencies are likely to issue during the course of the year.  The agenda issued before the end of 2015 is especially important as it lays out a regulatory road map for the Administration during President Obama’s remaining year in office. While the dates are certainly subject to change, the last year of a President’s term in office has always been framed ensuring a policy legacy, so it is expected to be busy.

There are many regulations currently under development that will directly impact the oil and gas industry, and specifically PESA members.  Below is a review of some of the most important actions and the most recent timelines, according to the published agenda.

Blowout Prevention Systems and Well Control (Department of the Interior/Bureau of Safety & Environmental Enforcement) – Target date for Final Rule to be issued: January 2016.

Production Safety Systems and Lifecycle Analysis (Department of the Interior/Bureau of Safety & Environmental Enforcement) – Target date for Final Rule to be issued: January 2016.  This rule addresses the “best available and safety technologies” requirements in 30 C.F.R. § 250.107.

Occupational Exposure to Crystalline Silica (Department of Labor/Occupational Safety & Health Administration) – Target date for Final Rule to be issued: February 2016.  The regulation is currently under review by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), the final step before it is issued and becomes government policy.

Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses (Department of Labor/Occupational Safety & Health Administration) – Target date for a Final Rule to be issued: March 2016.  This regulation is also under review by the OMB.

Effluent Guidelines and Standards for Oil and Gas Extraction Point Source Category (Environmental Protection Agency) – Target date for a Final Rule to be issued: August 2016.

The EPA is proposing new Clean Water Act rules related to the pretreatment of unconventional oil and gas extraction waste water sent to publicly owned treatment works.

“Methane Rules” – Various Regulations Addressing Methane Emissions by Oil and Gas Operations (Environmental Protection Agency)  – Target date for Final Rules to be issued: Summer 2016.  EPA is proposing a number of rules to set Clean Air Act limits for methane emissions by oil and gas production facilities.

This is just a sample of the regulations covered by the Unified Regulatory Agenda, and other regulatory actions will occur during the course of the year.  As action on these and other impactful regulatory proposals takes place, PESA will work to provide updates.

If you have any questions or concerns about regulatory or public policy issues, contact Ryan Bowley at rbowley@pesa.org.