Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Commission Makes Effort to Reduce Oil Field Waste

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Commission Makes Effort to Reduce Oil Field Waste

Article excerpt

Environmental regulation of the oilpatch has come under fire in Oklahoma recently, but it is not an isolated occurrance. Public awareness of regulation of the oil and gas industry in general has been heightened.

The Interstate Oil Compact Commission, made up of the producing states in the nation, has worked closely with the federal Environmental Protection Agency to improve regulation and continues the effort.

Most oil field wastes associated with oil and gas exploration and production are exempted from the hazardous category. Thus, most states regulate oil field wastes as solid wastes rather than federal regulators controlling the wastes under hazardous rules.

There is talk, however, that in reauthorizing the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, Congress may reclassify oil field wastes into the hazardous category. When the act was amended with the Solid Waste Disposal Act of 1980, certain oil field wastes were again expressly excluded from the hazardous group.

Meeting in Salt Lake City last week, the group of 30 states unanimously approved a self-review process to try to improve the effectiveness of state regulation of oil field waste. It will entail internal reviews by each state, followed by reviews by regulators from other states and outside observers, such as representatives from the National Audubon Society.

"This demonstrates that the states want to adequately regulate these activities," said Jerry Simmons, director of production services for the Interstate Oil Compact Commission.

"The state view is still the same: We support the EPA exemption of oil and gas waste, and we support state regulation of those wastes."

The exercise will evaluate each state's regulation /f oil field wastes against a set of guideline regulations developed in a study by the oil compact commission for EPA, which was ratified in December. …

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