The White House has been trying to show the natural gas business it can play ball in recent months despite a controversial decision on the Keystone pipeline that incensed the oil companies that usually lead natural gas development as well.
The Obama administration today released the attached document outlining a high-level task force that can coordinate federal oversight of natural gas issues. Industry bodies have been vocal about the potential for overlapping regulation, largely arguing that the industry is sufficiently regulated at the federal level already and that any new regulations associated with hydraulic fracturing should come from state governments.
After the attached Executive Order – titled: Supporting Safe and Responsible Development of Unconventional Domestic Natural Gas Resources – was met with the following statement from the America’s Natural Gas Alliance president and CEO Regina Hopper:
“President Obama has expressed his strong support for the environmental, economic and energy security benefits of the safe and responsible development of America’s abundant natural gas resources. Therefore, we appreciate the Administration’s issuance of this Executive Order. It lays out a blueprint for the coordination of work among the federal agencies on this important domestic resource. We particularly note that the Administration, through the order, recognizes that the states are the primary regulators of natural gas activities. Each state has different geological conditions and state regulators have the on-the-ground presence and expertise to promulgate and oversee unique operating requirements. We look forward to continuing to work with both the Administration and the states in bringing the benefits of this clean, domestic resource to all Americans.”
The Independent Petroleum Association of America also noted the order. IPAA President and CEO Barry Russell said:
“The White House executive order has a very good intent – centralizing the many ongoing reviews of hydraulic fracturing policies and proposals. We hope this order provides the administration with a more comprehensive understanding of the federal government’s increasing regulatory grasp on the industry.
“A key mission of this new coordination effort should be to reach out to the state agencies who already regulate hydraulic fracturing and the industry’s other practices.”
The Marcellus Shale Coalition’s president Kathryn Klaber said:
“The responsible development of American natural gas has been, and continues to be, and continues to be, a tremendous source of job creation for our nation. At the same time, and as the President noted in his State of the Union address, clean-burning natural gas is ‘proving that we don’t have to choose between our environment and our economy.’
“Affordable, abundant supplies of domestic natural gas – which are helping to provide much-needed consumer savings while bringing about a manufacturing renaissance in America – could not be realized without hydraulic fracturing.
“To even further improve environmental performance, states like Pennsylvania continue to raise the bar on regulatory requirements. This proven and aggressively regulated technology is critical to the long-term economic, energy security and environmental health of our nation.
“As the inter-agency’s panel begins its work, we remain eager to provide real-time, on-the-ground insight in an effort to ensure that common sense regulations are in place, which is essential to leveraging the countless benefits of America’s natural gas resources.”