12.074 Urging the United States Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management, to Plug Legacy Wells Properly and to Reclaim the Legacy Well Sites as Soon as Possible in Order to Protect the Environment in the Arctic Region
12.075 Establishing a Tiered Assessment Structure for Members of the Compact
12.076 Supporting States First Regulation
San Antonio, Texas
Urging the United States Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management, to Plug Legacy Wells Properly and to Reclaim the Legacy Well Sites as Soon as Possible in Order to Protect the Environment in the Arctic Region
WHEREAS, the United States Navy and the United States Geological Survey drilled 136 wells on federal land in northern Alaska between 1944 and 1982; and
WHEREAS, the United States Bureau of Land Management is the current operator of the wells, now referred to as legacy wells; and
WHEREAS, only sixteen of the legacy wells have been properly plugged and reclaimed; with the remaining legacy wells being out of compliance with State and federal laws requiring the plugging and reclamation of legacy wells and the state lacks sufficient jurisdiction to compel the Federal government to take action in this regard; and
WHEREAS, at least two of the legacy wells are leaking natural gas into the atmosphere, and at least one of the wells, completed as an oil well, is leaking crude oil onto the tundra; and
WHEREAS, at least three of the legacy wells can no longer be found; and given the changing geography of the Arctic puts additional legacy wells at risk of being lost before remediation can occur; and
WHEREAS, the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission has informed the federal government of the obligation to plug legacy wells properly and to reclaim legacy well sites which pose a significant risk to people, surface vegetation, groundwater, fish, land mammals, sea mammals and detract from the natural beauty of the Arctic region; and
WHEREAS, the federal government has received over nine billion dollars from lease sales in the National Petroleum Reserve – Alaska and the Outer Continental Shelf of Alaska and should use a portion of those funds to plug legacy wells and reclaim the well sites in the state; and
WHEREAS, the Department of the Interior should address this real and present environmental threat in northern Alaska.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission recognizes the seriousness of the environmental threat of the legacy wells and urges the United States Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management, to plug the legacy wells properly and to reclaim the legacy well sites as soon as possible in order to protect the environment in the Arctic region.
Establishing a Tiered Assessment Structure for Members of the Compact
WHEREAS, the Compact wishes to provide an orderly methodology for the determination of member state assessments; and
WHEREAS, the Compact wishes to establish a more workable assessments structure recognizing the needs of its membership; and
WHEREAS, following considerable study of the needs of the Compact for a budgetary system more consistent with the changing financial obligations of the Compact and its members.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that for calendar year 2014 the Compact’s assessments structure shall be based on a tiered system, which the Finance Committee shall be tasked with developing and that will generate a minimum of $627,500.00 for the Compact.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the assessment levels developed by the Finance Committee, shall be subject to final approval of the Commission.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that for calendar years 2015 and beyond the tiered assessment structure will be utilized, however, subject to annual review and recommendation for adjustment by the Compact’s Finance Committee.
Supporting States First Regulation
WHEREAS, the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission (IOGCC) member states have a well-established history in successful regulation resulting in sound environmental practices; and,
WHEREAS, issues vary from state to state, and experienced regulators across the nation have shown great leadership in protecting our environment; and,
WHEREAS, the member states of the IOGCC have adopted comprehensive laws and regulations to provide for safe operations and to protect the nation’s drinking water sources, and have trained personnel to effectively regulate oil and gas exploration and production; and,
WHEREAS, many times, federal regulations offer a “one size fits all” approach, which does not effectively regulate the oil and natural gas industry; and,
WHEREAS, IOGCC supports legislative efforts to empower states and make it clear that the United States is more secure when it has affordable energy supplies from diverse domestic resources and that domestically produced natural gas and oil provide jobs and economic opportunity to the people of the United States and revenue to the states; and,
WHEREAS, IOGCC supports legislative efforts to ensure states retain the right to regulate hydraulic fracturing and which give the states the ability to respond first to any violation unless, by clear and convincing evidence, a state fails to effectively protect the environment.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the IOGCC hereby declares support for the Congress of the United States to empower the states and endorse a states first approach to oil and gas regulation.