Eastern Section Meeting

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Are States Effective Regulating Oil and Gas Production Operations?


Domestic oil and gas production in the United States has changed dramatically over the past decade and brought the U.S. back to being a global leader in crude oil and natural gas production. These changes have brought untold benefits to our economy, national security, energy security, and our standard of living. They have also brought a number of issues into the marketplace which have stimulated much needed debate on matters of how oil and gas production should be conducted.

The debates have provided platforms from which a broad spectrum of interest groups may use to promote varied positions relating to, but not necessarily limited to: national energy policy; domestic oil and gas production on public lands; oil and gas production on private lands; zoning, land use, and the role of local government bodies; safety of the transportation of crude oil; gathering and transportation pipeline infrastructure; impacts on water supply; effects on surface and ground water quantity and quality; local community infrastructure impacts; importing and exporting of oil and natural gas; and even the potential for some oil and gas activities to cause earthquakes.

The debates surrounding expanded oil and gas production have stimulated federal, state, and local government bodies to enact new requirements intended to better manage some of the perceived impacts. Significant questions have arisen as to which level of government is the most appropriate to regulate oil and gas development such as:

  • •the proper role of local governments;
  • •the proper role of the federal government; and
  • •the proper role of state governments.
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    This presentation will briefly discuss those areas traditionally viewed as being within the authority of local governments and the traditional role of the federal government on matters relating to oil and gas drilling and production. The presenter's primary focus will be on the historic role of state oil and gas conservation agencies and how they are responding to the many issues associated with contemporary oil and gas development in view of the broader national debates. The presenter will also discuss current changes which Indiana is proposing to its regulation of oil and gas production operations.