This opinion piece presents the opinions of the author.
Regulation after regulation has been thrown at the oil and gas industry by federal and state agencies since 2009.
All 13 federal agencies that regulate a portion of the oil and gas industry have tried in some way to make it more difficult to drill, produce and refine hydrocarbons in the United States.
The Environmental Protection Agency has been the most visible in many respects with its new air emission regulations that define carbon dioxide (CO2) as a pollutant and sets emission limits.
EPA also has initiated a study of hydraulic fracturing even though many legal scholars point out that federal law exempts hydraulic fracturing from federal regulation. State regulatory agencies have regulated hydraulic fracturing for decades.
The new federal oversight includes such agencies as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife who enforces the Endangered Species Act; the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission which oversees natural gas rules enforcement; the Commodities Futures and Trading Commission that is trying to write new regulations on “swaps” and trading on the futures market; the Department of Interior and Bureau of Land Management that has set new drilling standards on federal lands; and on and on.
Texas has jumped into the act also with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality implementing new air emission requirements and even using special cameras in helicopters to enforce the new limits.
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