Environmental legislation interacts with the oil and gas industry from a variety of different angles. Legislation routinely expands and contracts regulatory authority, and new executive administrations change the country’s regulatory dynamics. Some legislation creates mandates for regulatory authorities. The timeline below is a partial picture of U.S. environmental legislation through the years.
Changes in environmental legislation occur over time in response to new and emerging public concerns, trends in the halls of government, and dynamic lobbying pressure both inside and outside of Washington.
Along with what occurs at the federal level across North America, there is also a considerable quantity of environmental regulation that is written at the state and provincial level. Often these emerging regulatory protocols can be some of the most impactful, as the development of unconventional energy resources proceeds. One of the strengths of interagency meetings, is that they create a sharing of successful environmental regulation between participating state and provincial officials, along with illustrating the most efficient and effective inspection procedures when working with the rapidly evolving oil and gas industry. These state level regulations, as they are continually developed, often then drive similar initiatives from the federal government.
It is also worth noting, that in the area of energy, global factors, from consortiums of governments, non-governmental organizations, and industry itself, is also influencing environmental regulation impacting North American energy development. This progress is seen in areas such as fugitive methane emissions, water usage, and higher-level climate initiatives impacting local energy development. Due to increasing scientific and societal concerns related to climate, this will only grow in significance as a force influencing environmental regulations in the U.S. and Canada.
Interactive Timeline: Top Energy Training
Images: “Capitol from top of Washington Monument” by Tyrol5 licensed under CC BY SA 3.0