By Peter F. RothThe Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which regulates energy industry standards, has been criticized for its lack of transparency, and some environmentalists have called for the agency to take over all petroleum-related waste collection from oil companies.
The commission, however, is not doing enough to improve oversight, the environmental group Center for Biological Diversity wrote in a March 1 letter to agency administrator Richard Cordray.
The agency has received no federal funding to oversee oil and natural gas waste collection since it was created in the 1970s, the group said.
“The EPA’s failure to properly oversee oil waste collection is unacceptable,” said Sarah Anderson, a senior fellow at the Center for Science in the Public Interest and a senior staff attorney at the Natural Resources Defense Council.
“We want the agency working for the American people, not to enrich the oil and oil industry.”
The Center for Biologically Inspired Conservation, an environmental group that has criticized oil industry practices in the past, said the agency is failing to protect the environment and is “unable to enforce” regulations that require oil companies to use a wide variety of environmental practices, such as reducing waste.
The EPA has been able to implement regulations to prevent spills, but the agency does not have enough staff to monitor compliance and collect and send waste to an automated recycling center, according to a letter to Cordray from the center.
In the letter, the NRDC wrote that the agency’s oil and waste management division has received “no meaningful funding for this vital role, and has been unable to enforce its regulations to protect Americans’ precious environment from oil spills.”
Cordray said in a statement the agency would make every effort to address the NRD’s concerns, including hiring more staff to the division.
The agency also said it would conduct a review of its oil and resource waste collection program.
The Environmental Protection Agency also has been struggling to meet federal standards for the disposal of oil and other petroleum-derived wastes.
Last year, it announced a $1 billion investment to replace 1,000 oil and related waste processing and disposal units.
In March, the agency announced a new rule requiring companies to make oil-related wastewater and oil-based waste collection at facilities that are not oil refineries.
The rules, which went into effect in December, were not intended to address oil and petroleum-based wastes that were not made at a refineries, according a U.S. Energy Information Administration report.
But the rule is still in effect and requires oil refiners to put the chemicals, such in-situ processing and storage tanks, into a secure, secure location where they are separated from waste and not exposed to the air.
Oil companies have been using those storage tanks in the process of producing natural gas, which is pumped from the ground into oil refining facilities.
In October, the Environmental Protection Department issued a preliminary regulation requiring oil refines to put all petroleum waste in a secure tank at the site of a refinery and send it to a recycling center.
The rule requires refiners who have a facility in the West to report any oil-derived waste that is disposed of at that facility.
Under the rules, oil refiner must also keep track of the number of containers that are disposed of and to report that information to the EPA.
But since January, when the EPA announced the rules for the first time, oil and refiner have been allowed to dispose of oil- and gas-related wastes at a facility that is not a refiner.
That includes refineries that are located within 100 miles of an oil refinery, the EPA said.
Some refiners have said they have not been notified of the rules.
Oil refiners in California have reported finding that their oil-to-gas waste disposal facilities are not required to be in compliance with the new rules.
California’s oil refinery operator said that it has been told that it can dispose of waste by either taking oil-sourced wastewater to a “special location” and placing it in a container, or transferring it to an in-fill tank and dumping it into a separate tank.
The industry is now asking for more money for waste-handling and monitoring.
The industry has filed a petition with the U.P.S., which is a federal agency that collects the waste, seeking more money and more resources to track and report oil-produced waste.