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U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Renews Task Force with the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission

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Medora, N.D. (August 27, 2019)At a four-day event hosted in Medora, North Dakota, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it is renewing its commitment to collaborate with the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission (IOGCC) through the EPA-IOGCC Task Force. First established in 2002, the task force is made up of EPA’s senior leaders and state oil and gas leadership and is a mechanism for better communication and collaboration between the federal government and the states. Together, EPA and IOGCC leadership will continue to promote protection of human health and the environment, while recognizing each other’s missions, responsibilities and authorities, increasing efficiencies and facilitating the exchange of information and expertise. 

“Referring to collaboration in the abstract does not go far enough,” said EPA Senior Counselor for Regional Management and State Affairs Doug Benevento. “Instead, it’s important to memorialize our intentions to work together with our state oil and gas co-regulators through the renewed Memorandum of Understanding we will sign later this year. The agency looks forward to strengthening its relationship with IOGCC.”

“Having worked in oil and gas production for most of my career, as a state agency cabinet secretary and in the private sector, I know firsthand how important it is for state and federal agencies to work together to serve the communities where this vital part of our economy is taking place,” said EPA Region 6 Administrator Ken McQueen. “Federal-state partnerships have allowed us to work together on reasonable, responsible actions to protect people and natural resources while continuing economic growth.”

“Opportunities such as the recent IOGCC conference in Medora are absolutely invaluable as we continue to build positive relationships between federal agencies and our state partners,” said EPA Region 8 Administrator Greg Sopkin. “Listening to state leaders, such as North Dakota Governor Burgum, highlight the accomplishments of the oil and gas sector in the state and engaging with the energy sector regarding the latest technologies available are critical as all parties strive for environmentally responsible production of oil and natural gas.”

Produced water generated from oil and gas production was one of many topics covered at the IOGCC annual meeting in Medora earlier this week. Both EPA and certain IOGCC member regulators maintain authority and responsibility over produced water, making federal and state collaboration on the management and regulation of produced water essential. For more information, see EPA’s Study of Oil and Gas Extraction Wastewater Management Under the Clean Water Act (Draft May 2019) and the forthcoming draft Water Reuse Action Plan, highlighting produced water reuse and recycling opportunities. 

EPA’s efforts to facilitate compliance in the oil and natural gas industry also creates opportunities to collaborate with our state co-regulators. EPA’s New Owner Audit Program for Oil and Gas encourages environmental audits and self-disclosure of noncompliance, consistent with many of our state co-regulators’ audit programs. Another example is EPA’s Environmental Compliance Information for Energy Extraction website, an online portal intended to help the regulated community comply with both federal and state environmental regulations. 

In addition, EPA will soon be proposing changes to the new source performance standards applicable to the oil and natural gas industry. EPA’s proposal will deliver on President Trump’s executive order by removing unnecessary and duplicative regulatory burdens from the oil and gas industry, saving millions in regulatory costs from 2019 to 2025.