Environmental Risks Prove Biggest Test to Energy Firms
Bill Feather, Ap, THE JOURNAL RECORD
SANTA FE, N.M. - The domestic oil and gas industry's biggest challenge is going to be producing from hard-to-get oil reserves without damaging the environment, James Townsend, chairman of the Oklahoma Corporation Commission, told the Interstate Oil Compact Commission's Regulatory Practices Committee Tuesday.
The organization of governors and oil industry regulators from 29 oil and gas producing states ended its annual meeting in Santa Fe after a business session Wednesday.
Townsend told the committee Tuesday that environmental laws have had a significant effect on the oil industry.
But he added maximum production can be achieved if the oil industry and state and federal governments cooperate and communicate along the way.
``The states, EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) and the industry have a responsibility to our nation not only to protect its precious water resources but also, as a matter of national security, to encourage the maximum ultimate recovery of all the oil which can be produced in our nation,'' Townsend said.
The focal point of the oil-environment debate is a proposed Environmental Protection Agency regulation that would classify certain methods of enhanaced oil recovery as a hazardous waste practice.
Enhanced recovery involves underground injection of fluids and inert gases, such as carbon dioxide, to produce the oil remaining after primary recovery techniques are exhausted.
The industry estimates that about 161 billion barrels (30 percent) of the 488 billion barrels of crude oil discovered in the U. …