Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Attorney: Osage County Rule Revision Delays Drilling

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Attorney: Osage County Rule Revision Delays Drilling

Article excerpt

A provision in the revised Osage County oil and gas rules constitutes a near-unlimited expansion of authority by the federal government within the county, said an attorney.

In an open letter to the Osage Negotiated Rulemaking Committee, Tara Righetti, an attorney for Oakland, Calif.-based Berkeley GeoImaging LLC, said the proposed regulations completely expel the Osage Minerals Council from the process of enacting future regulation.

"There was no way to anticipate what pernicious and onerous regulations could be put forth by the secretary (of the interior) in the future," Righetti said. "By allowing the federal government to effectively regulate oil and gas development in Osage County, the government would determine the legacy of the tribe's mineral interest."

Righetti said she has not had a response from the committee.

Righetti and other oil and gas operators object to a revised rule that would delay the start of drilling up to three months.

"The delay seems unnecessary and we are not sure what extra protection it provides to the surface owner," Righetti said.

The rule is Code of Federal Regulations 25, Part 226.18. It requires a meeting between the operator and landowner. It gives the landowner 30 days to respond to a request from the operator to meet. The meeting takes place and another 10 days must pass before any operations can take place at the well site.

Since August the committee has held public meetings focused on the federal rules known as CFRs, which govern oil and gas operations in Osage County. The Negotiated Rulemaking Committee, made up of members of the Minerals Council, the Bureau of Indian Affairs and Bureau of Land Management, has been rewriting the CFRs.

Oil and gas producers, among others, have argued in the public meetings that the rule-making committee is going too fast. Also, operators claim they face a steep spike in costs if the rules are changed. …

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