Oil boosters to huddle at Trump hotel, meet with EPA

Source: Hannah Northey and Ariel Wittenberg, E&E News reporters • Posted: Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Oil lobbyists are preparing to push U.S. EPA on a host of air, water and pipeline policies this week after huddling at the Trump International Hotel in Washington for a conference.

The Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA), a group representing the nation’s independent oil and natural gas producers, is scheduled to meet with EPA officials at the agency’s headquarters on Wednesday.

The meeting will focus on a list of top policy objectives, including pushing more oversight authority to states.

The agency stop will occur as part of the IPAA’s 2018 Congressional Call-Up at the Trump International Hotel, an event featuring speeches from Fox News politics editor Chris Stirewalt and House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.). Politico first reported the meeting.

On the agenda: ensuring states don’t “abuse” their authority when approving or denying clean water permits for proposed pipelines.

“IPAA support oversight of delegated states to assure that they are not abusing their authority such as the misuse of Clean Water Act Section 401 to deny pipeline permits crossing rivers,” said the agenda.

Also on the agenda is pushing back against potential regulation of pollution that makes its way to surface water via groundwater.

While the Clean Water Act technically only regulates surface water, not groundwater, questions have arisen in the past decade over whether the landmark environmental law could cover pollutants that enter surface water after traveling through the ground.

EPA announced last month that it was considering regulating those pollutants following an increasing number of lawsuits filed by environmental groups.

Those groups say point sources whose pollution travels through groundwater and makes its way to surface water should be required to obtain a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit under the Clean Water Act.

Multiple sectors of the economy that use wastewater wells, cesspools and coal ash ponds are expected to push back against potential regulations.

IPAA is apparently among the first groups to meet with EPA on the issue, listing “ground water and the Clean Water Act” as an issue it will be bringing up at the meeting.

IPAA says it’s worried that “the potential for bringing ground water into the scope of the Clean Water Act would be counter to the management of ground water under the Safe Drinking Water Act.”

“It could result in a significant new regulatory burden that was never intended when either Act was passed,” the agenda said.