INGAA comments on BLM’s proposed rule with major Oil and Gas Industry associations

INGAA, The American Petroleum Institute (API), The Association of Oil Pipe Lines (AOPL) and The Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA) are collectively concerned about the limited opportunity BLM provided oil and gas stakeholders to meaningfully comment on this proposed rule.

While the title of the proposal mentions only solar and wind ROWs and other “technical changes and corrections,” a substantial overhaul of the regulations governing the issuance and administration of oil and gas ROWs on public lands is buried at the end of the 63-page proposal. BLM engaged in no outreach to the oil and gas industry before proposing its rule, and industry had no reason to anticipate BLM’s proposed rulemaking. Accordingly, upon discovery of its scope, API, INGAA, and others promptly requested that BLM extend the comment deadline until March 2015. On November 21, 2014, BLM agreed to a minimal 15-day extension of time to file comments, until December 16, 2014. Notwithstanding BLM’s refusal to grant the greater public review and comment period warranted by its extensive proposal, we offer the following comments, but reserve the right to supplement these comments prior to issuance of any final rule.

We support BLM’s efforts to clarify and simplify the regulatory process for obtaining, maintaining, and reclaiming pipeline and transmission ROWs and to achieve a fair return for the use of the public lands. However, certain aspects of the proposal would frustrate those goals and may serve to chill, rather than encourage, responsible oil and gas pipeline development on BLM managed lands. Additionally, several of the proposed regulations are inconsistent with BLM’s statutory, regulatory, and Secretarial delegations of authority, and should be modified accordingly.
Therefore, BLM should revise its proposed rule consistent with the comments. (See attached PDF for the full comments).