Senators Urge EPA To Keep Oil, Gas Drilling Stormwater Rule Timetable

Six senators last month asked the Environmental Protection Agency not to delay new stormwater rules for oil and gas producers.

Six senators last month asked the Environmental Protection Agency not to delay new stormwater rules for oil and gas producers. Lawmakers asked EPA Administrator Christine Todd Whitman to keep an original March 2003 deadline that would require small oil and gas operators to meet stormwater phase II requirements under the Clean Water Act.

Sens. James Jeffords (I-VT), ranking member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, Ron Wyden (D-OR), Paul Sarbanes (D-MD), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Russ Feingold (D-WI), and Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) made the request in a letter last month.

EPA is expected this spring to postpone the rule for an additional two years.

Industry groups argued that the rule is burdensome and could adversely impact domestic energy production. They also say that some exploration activities should not be treated the same as other construction activities covered under federal clean water rules.

"The remote, dispersed and sporadic nature of pipeline construction projects is integral to oil and gas production activities and different from other construction activities," the American Petroleum Institute said.

The senators, whose views were reflected by environmental groups, maintain there is no evidence to suggest that oil and gas producers deserve special treatment.

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