Federal, state, and local governments all regulate water and air quality impacts of oil and gas development. The regulations as well as voluntary industry practices in use may or may not have been developed based on sound science. Regardless of how they were developed, knowledge of current regulations and practices is important to communities and other stakeholders. Differences in regulations and practices amongst development areas across the country provide a useful baseline for developing recommendations for science-based regulation and policy development.
The Practices and Regulations team collaborates with network researchers on identification, dissemination, and analysis of best management practices (BMPs), including laws and regulations, relevant to their research. The function is primarily educational and the team provides (1) general information on water and air issues in oil and gas development, and (2) specific information on the current state of law, regulation, and voluntary practice relevant to network research.
Role in overall AWGSRN projects
In order to achieve its objectives the team has created several website databases to share information that live on the Intermountain Oil and Gas Best Management Practices (BMP) website (www.oilandgasbmps.org). The comparative databases include the searchable BMP database (www.oilandgasbmps.org/bmpadvsearch.php) and the LawAtlas comparative air quality, water quality, and water quantity law databases (www.lawatlas.org/topics; look under Environmental Health).
Significant Expansion of Databases
- The team updated pages on the Intermountain Oil and Gas BMP website including to the Water Quantity, Air Quality, Public Health Resources, and Law and Policy pages.
- LawAtlas comparative law databases were updated with the additions of air quality, water quality, and water quantity regulations to four states (Alaska, Arkansas, Illinois, and California), four federal agency regulations (Environmental Protection Agency, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Indian Affairs and U.S. Forest Service), and four local jurisdictions (Longmont, Colorado; City of Flower Mound, Texas; Rio Arriba County, New Mexico; South Coast Air Quality Management District, California.)
Memorandum of Understanding
Researchers began to study non-regulatory voluntary agreements, known as memoranda of understanding (MOUs) between local governments and operators. The team compiled over 40 local government / operator MOUs in our searchable bibliography, began incorporating BMPs from those documents into our searchable BMP database, and began interviewing stakeholders for production of a white paper discussing lessons learned on the MOU development process.