TULSA, Okla. (May 13, 2016) - The GPA Midstream Association filed comments today in response to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed rule amending its risk management program (RMP) regulations. GPA Midstream said the proposed changes will create unnecessary burdens on the midstream industry and offered a number of recommendations to the agency in the comments.
“The EPA is moving too fast and the proposed changes are too strict on an already regulated midstream industry,” said Johnny Dreyer, GPA Midstream senior vice president. “More stringent regulations are not necessarily the answer, so we have asked EPA to consider enforcing current RMP regulations and EPCRA (Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act) regulations. The West, Texas, incident is one of the reasons for the rulemaking, but these new rules would not have prevented the incident; therefore, enforcing the existing RMP rule is the better option.”
GPA Midstream also requested that EPA amend its proposed definition of “catastrophic release” so that RMP incidents that would have no impact on the public’s safety nor the environment do not trigger undue response and burden on the regulated midstream industry.
The association also asked that EPA allow compliance audits to continue as stated under the existing RMP rule and continue with inspections and enforcement instead of layering additional regulation, to remove the independence criteria proposed for third party auditors, and to ensure that information sharing with the public is appropriate to what is most useful for local officials and the public at large.
Founded in 1921, the GPA Midstream Association is a trade organization with nearly 100 corporate members of all sizes engaged in the gathering and processing of natural gas, commonly referred to as “midstream activities” in the energy sector. Natural gas is one of the world’s primary energy sources and much of it must be purified, or "processed," to meet quality standards and regulations and to make useful everyday products for homes, factories and businesses. Gas processing includes the removal of impurities from the natural gas stream produced at the wellhead, as well as the extraction for sale of natural gas liquid products (NGLs) such as ethane, propane, butane and natural gasoline. GPA Midstream members account for more than 90 percent of NGLs produced in the United States from natural gas processing. GPA Midstream members also operate hundreds of thousands of miles of domestic gas gathering pipelines, in addition to pipelines involved with storing, transporting and marketing natural gas and NGLs.