The State Perspective

The IOGCC -- Collectively Representing the States

In 1935, six states took advantage of a constitutional right to “compact,” or agree to work together, to resolve common issues. Faced with unregulated petroleum overproduction and the resulting waste, the states endorsed and Congress ratified a compact to take control of the issues. The result was a unique multi-state government agency now known as the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission. Because each state has its own challenges, the Commission, which currently represents 38 oil and gas producing states, continues to focus on the development of model legislation that states are able to adapt according to their requirements.

IOGCC member states have a well-established history of successful regulation resulting in sound environmental practices. Issues vary from state to state, and experienced regulators across the nation have shown great leadership in protecting the environment. Many times, federal regulations offer a “one size fits all” approach, which does not effectively regulate the oil and natural gas industry. The IOGCC plays an active role in Washington, D.C., serving as the states’ voice on oil and natural gas issues and advocating states’ rights to govern the resources found within their borders. It is imperative that states maintain this right, because our nation’s energy future depends on it.

IOGCC Case Study: Orphaned and Abandoned Wells -- Innovative Solutions

This case study, prepared by the IOGCC, profiles several innovative programs used by IOGCC member states to address orphaned and abandoned wells. The states profiled include California, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Oklahoma, and Michigan.

States have been creative in finding ways to reduce the potential for adverse environmental impact by plugging thousands of orphaned wells. They also have conserved resources by encouraging the return of orphaned wells to production. Despite making headway, much more work is required before the danger posed by orphaned wells is history.

To ensure that the problem of orphaned wells remains a legacy from the past and not an ongoing problem, states have a variety of regulatory tools at their disposal to prevent premature abandonment of current and future wells. States work on a daily basis to ensure that wells are correctly plugged and abandoned and to identify orphan wells that may present a danger to the environment. Agencies quickly act to address any immediate threat that presents itself – regardless of ownership and liability issues. The process of identifying and remediating past problems will take time, but states are dedicating significant human and financial resources to ensure the protection of generations to come.