The oil and natural gas industry is one of the most highly regulated industries in the United States. Across all levels of energy operations, regulations help ensure the wellbeing of our environment and communities, and the safety of our employees and contractors. Here at AXPC, we advocate for science-based regulations that allow our members to provide Americans with dependable and affordable energy.
Our industry employs thousands of environmental and safety professionals, not just to ensure regulatory compliance, but because it is the right thing to do. AXPC’s various expert committees (such as our Environmental, Health and Safety committee) spend countless hours drafting comments and letters to regulators to ensure the agencies have as much industry knowledge as possible when they update or craft new regulations. Our member companies work tirelessly to develop new technologies and better practices that will further reduce impacts to wildlife, air, water and land.
There are multiple federal regulatory bodies that all work together to ensure natural resource exploration and production in the U.S. is performed in a safe and environmentally conscious manner.
Check out our factsheet on the regulatory agencies that oversee oil and natural gas production here.
All oil and natural gas operations begin with obtaining land leases. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) within the Department of Interior is responsible for the leasing, exploration, development, and production of natural resources on federal and Native American lands.
Our members take great care to adhere to environmental regulations. The largest agency overseeing oil and natural gas operations is the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). From air to water to land, the EPA is tasked with enforcing current regulations in place as dictated by bills passed by Congress such as the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act and the Safe Drinking Water Act. These bills ensure operators maintain the highest quality of life for the environments in which they live and operate.
In addition to land, air and water, AXPC members work hard to protect threatened and endangered species near their operations. By adhering to regulations put in place by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), also under the Department of the Interior, AXPC members support the protection of these species in every aspect of their operations.
There are also specific regulatory bodies for offshore oil and natural gas operations. Agencies such as the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) are tasked with overseeing drilling operations off the coast of the U.S. BSEE employees work ensure the highest safety and environmental standards are followed offshore, while BOEM manages the leasing of offshore blocks for energy production.
Even as oil and natural gas are transported across the country to its final destinations, regulatory bodies ensure its safe arrival. Agencies such as the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) monitor and regulate the transport of natural resources extracted and produced by our members. These agencies reside in the Department of Energy and the Department of Transportation respectively, demonstrating how comprehensive federal oil and natural gas regulations currently are.
Agencies across the U.S. federal government work with industry to ensure the safe exploration, production, and transport of oil and natural gas. AXPC supports appropriate regulation that is sustainable, provides long-term predictability, and, most importantly, science-based. Ongoing collaboration between regulators and companies will allow the energy industry to continue to support our nation’s economy and way of life for Americans who rely on reliable, affordable energy produced in the United States.