This opinion piece presents the opinions of the author.
The federal agencies under President Obama continue to press his environmental agenda with the release of three major regulatory changes within the last week.
The first came when the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed modification of its controversial wetlands regulations that will increase its oversight of small bodies of water under the Clean Air Act.
EPA commented that the rule change is a clarification of which waters are under federal oversight.
Oil and gas industry’s initial reaction was one of caution because the proposed rule has not been published in the Federal Register, yet. But as it was unveiled on March 25 by EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the proposed rule is an attempt to expand the Supreme Court’s 2006 ruling, which narrowed the federal agencies’ regulation of “navigable waters”.
More details on the proposed regulations as they become available.
The second bad news came when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) decided to list the lesser prairie chicken as a “threatened” species under the Endangered Species Act. The listing action could have serious consequences for oil and gas operators with operations and acreage in the habitat area, which includes parts of Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.
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