EPA Launches Voluntary Audit Program for New Owners of Upstream Oil and Natural Gas Facilities

News Releases from HeadquartersEnforcement and Compliance Assurance (OECA)

Program provides regulatory certainty and environmental benefits

03/29/2019

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Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized a voluntary disclosure program designed for new owners of upstream oil and natural gas exploration and production facilities. The program encourages new owners to find, correct and self-disclose Clean Air Act violations. The EPA believes that the program will accelerate the rate at which participating operators of newly-acquired facilities identify and correct emissions violations, resulting in significant pollutant reductions and increased environmental protection.

“New owners of oil and gas facilities may be particularly well positioned to identify and address emission violations,” said EPA Assistant Administrator for Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Susan Bodine. “This program offers these new owners incentives to ensure their newly-acquired facilities are in, or come into, compliance.”

This audit program is available to new owners of upstream oil and natural gas exploration and production facilities (i.e., well sites, including associated storage tanks and pollution control equipment). The program encourages new owners of these facilities to participate because it provides regulatory certainty and clearly defined civil penalty mitigation beyond what is offered by the EPA’s existing self-disclosure policies. Under this program, new owners will in most cases have nine months from the date of acquisition to notify the EPA of their interest in participating in the program. New owners include owners who acquired facilities in the 12 months preceding the launch of this program. The EPA can reject applications to this program if the EPA or a state have already discovered violations at the facility. Additional information on program eligibility can be found in the agreement.

The EPA announced its intention to develop this voluntary audit program on May 4, 2018. Since that announcement, the EPA solicited and received feedback from interested stakeholders, including state and local governments, oil and natural gas exploration and production companies, oil and natural gas trade associations, and environmental non-governmental organizations. The final program announced today reflects the EPA’s effort to refine program requirements based on stakeholder feedback.

To learn more about the Oil and Gas Exploration and Production Facility New Owner Audit Program, please visit: https://www.epa.gov/enforcement/new-owner-clean-air-act-audit-program-oil-and-natural-gas-exploration-and-production

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