Answering Aunt Edna


Aunt Edna may be hearing a lot about regulations these days and wondering what this means for the oil and natural gas industry. Do recent actions at the federal level to reassess regulations and regulatory agencies signal the end of oversight for oil and natural gas activities?

The short answer: No. Definitely not. The oil and natural gas industry has been and will continue to be heavily regulated, supervised by an extensive regulatory apparatus and subject to stringent rules at every step of the oil and natural gas lifecycle.

How is the industry regulated?

The oil and natural gas industry is regulated by federal, state, and local agencies. These agencies create the regulatory structure governing energy production.

State governments, and local governments to a lesser extent, have historically been tasked with the bulk of oil and natural gas regulations, as they are most knowledgeable with the geologic formations and operating conditions in their areas of jurisdiction. We discussed state and local control in an Answering Aunt Edna last year. FracFocus provides information about state regulatory bodies and each state’s regulations on their website.

Federal agencies also add an overlapping layer of oversight to oil and natural gas industry operations.

What oil and gas activities are regulated?

According to the Department of Energy, talking about what is regulated in the production of shale gas and hydraulic fracturing: “Taking into account federal, state and local laws and regulations, virtually every aspect of exploration, production and site restoration activities, including well design, location, spacing, operation, water and waste management and disposal, air quality, wildlife protection, surface impacts, site closure and health and safety.”

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These are just a few of the many federal, state and local agencies and regulations that govern the oil and natural gas industry. Every step of the oil and natural gas lifecycle is regulated and supervised.

It seems to Aunt Edna that the oil and natural gas industry is opposed to all regulations. Is that true?

No. On the whole, the oil and natural gas industry supports regulations that balance energy production with the protection of our environment and communities. It only opposes regulations that are redundant, costly and without benefits.

Here is how Chevron’s General Manager of Public Affairs, Dave Samson, explained the difference between good regulations and bad regulations in PR Week:

“Good companies are not anti-regulation. They want regulations that are reasonable and achieve the desired outcomes, such as safer working practices. No good company would be against those things.”

Action Item

We encourage you to share the infographic above with those who may have questions about regulatory reform. And remember, the infographic represents just some of the many federal, state and local agencies and regulations that govern the oil and natural gas industry.

‘Answering Aunt Edna’ is a recurring series that is designed to help CAN members answer tough questions from their friends, family and neighbors.

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