The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

Made in America: Common-Sense Energy Regulatory Structure

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted May 29, 2012

We talked recently about increasing access to domestic oil and natural gas as key to a made-in-America energy plan. Here’s another essential piece: common-sense regulation. Without a reasonable regulatory structure that’s transparent and accessible, red tape could tie up America’s ample energy resources.

In its recent report to the platform committees of the two political parties, API outlined what America’s energy regulatory structure needs:

  • Transparency – We need a system that operates in a way that’s clear and unambiguous, with input from all stakeholders, and that bases rules on sound science.
  • Sound analysis – We need regulatory processes that are based on legitimate cost-benefit analysis, with implementation timelines that consider economic impacts and resource availability.
  • Common sense – We need a system that accounts for the cumulative effect of multiple regulations and that avoids duplicative, unnecessary layers – all of which provide for regulatory certainty.

Industry supports regulatory oversight yet has not stood idle in the effort to improve safety, environmental protection and production efficiency.

Companies worked with government regulators to create the Center for Offshore Safety to maintain the highest levels of offshore performance – including help in the development of new technology, monitoring systems and rapid response strategies.

Industry has addressed safety concerns about hydraulic fracturing in the production of energy from shale with a set of standards that range from well construction to water management. The FracFocus chemical disclosure registry, supported by industry, now includes information on more than 15,000 wells. With the states taking the lead in regulating fracking, the federal government should avoid imposing duplicative and potentially onerous layers of regulation on top of state regimes.

The main emphasis is to take a common-sense approach on regulation, avoiding dubious initiatives – for example, EPA’s decision on E15 fuel and its cellulosic biofuels mandate. In both those cases careful consideration of market impacts might have forestalled questionable actions. An example of this approach was seen in EPA’s recent decision to defer until 2015 compliance with its new rule governing emissions from oil and natural gas production.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mark Green joined API after a career in newspaper journalism, including 16 years as national editorial writer for The Oklahoman in the paper’s Washington bureau. Mark also was a reporter, copy editor and sports editor. He earned his journalism degree from the University of Oklahoma and master’s in journalism and public affairs from American University. He and his wife Pamela live in Occoquan, Va., where they enjoy their four grandchildren.