AXPC’s primary purpose is to inform legislators and regulators of various technical issues that could affect our member companies in order to ensure that public policy effectively protects the public and environment, can be feasibly implemented by industry, and takes into account the unique characteristics of our members and their businesses.
As we kick-off 2019, below are some of the specific issues that we will be monitoring this year. Our goal is to engage on these issues in order to ensure that U.S. oil and natural gas production continues in a safe and responsible manner, and that our country remains a world energy leader.
Potential Action on Produced Water Discharge
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates wastewater generated from oil and gas operations that is injected underground for disposal. EPA is currently conducting a study to consider available approaches to manage wastewater from conventional and unconventional oil and gas extraction. The study will help the EPA determine if future actions are needed to address wastewater associated with oil and gas extraction. AXPC will monitor and help inform EPA’s work on this issue and any future action that may be taken. Click here to read testimony from AXPC President Bruce Thompson on this issue.
Operational Integrity – Onshore Orders 3, 4 & 5
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) regulates oil and gas operations on federal lands. Onshore Order 3 sets standards to ensure oil and gas is properly handled to prevent theft and loss and enable accurate measurement and production accountability. Order 4 establishes minimum standards for the measurement of oil, while Order 5 sets minimum standards for the measurement of gas. All three Orders have been recently updated and finalized after successful engagement from AXPC. AXPC will continue to monitor and ensure that any technical issues that arise are addressed prior to the compliance deadline.
Sustainable Investment, Environment, Social, Governance Issues
Investors and shareholders increasingly rely on an investment strategy known as environmental, social, and governance investing (ESG) to assess our members and all publicly-traded companies. This strategy differs from traditional investing because it looks at how companies may be impacted by risks that may not be captured in a traditional financial statement. For the oil and gas industry, engagement with stakeholders concerned with these issues is a top priority. That is why AXPC recently engaged with As You Sow, an environmental organization focused on sponsoring shareholder resolutions that deal with ESG issues.
On the regulatory front, the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) Investor Advisory Committee recently held a hearing on the issues with standardizing how investors measure ESG factors and whether the SEC should conduct a rulemaking to require companies to disclose ESG related factors to their shareholders. AXPC will follow any SEC actions closely and provide the Commission input of the best route to pursue in this emerging area, should a rulemaking materialize. In the meantime, AXPC and our member companies will continue to engage and disclose relevant information to shareholders on a voluntary basis to address any concerns.
Endangered Species Act
AXPC members are committed to proactively protecting and conserving threatened and endangered species and their habitats. Working closely with federal and state agencies, as well as with private landowners, AXPC members regularly participate in voluntary conservation measures that include providing funding for research and restoration efforts, setting aside acres for land conservation, and implementing practices and policies to avoid, minimize or mitigate habitat and species impacts. AXPC supports Administration efforts to update the Endangered Species Act (ESA) to ensure the law works properly for both people and species. With reasonable and balanced federal policy, it’s possible that safe and responsible energy production can co-exist with species conservation.
U.S. Trade Policy
AXPC has joined other organizations in expressing concern over the Executive Branch’s unilateral use of tariffs to carry out new trade policies with allies. Tariffs, such as those on steel and aluminum, can significantly raise energy costs and threaten much-needed energy infrastructure projects. AXPC will continue to support fair trade policies that will allow for the increased production and export of U.S. oil and natural gas.
AXPC looks forward to making headway on these issues and more in 2019. Be sure to check back regularly for updates on our legislative priorities and other news from our member companies. To view past comments submitted to regulatory agencies on issues of importance, visit our issues page.