Yesterday, while visiting the TPPF’s Policy Orientation conference, I learned of a highly unusual Oil and Natural Gas Information Collection Request, issued by the EPA to owners and operators of practically all oils & gas production wells in December 2016.
The EPA demands answers to the ICR Part I within 60 days from the receipt of the ICR Letter, but the sample letter on the EPA website is dated by November 14. I address here only the ICR Part I because of is urgency. The ICR Part I demands detailed information about all oil and gas extraction sites, for each site including:
- The exact site coordinates
- The number of separators
- The number of dehydrators
- The number of storage tanks with capacity below 10 barrels per day [sic]
- The number of storage tanks with capacity above 10 barrels per day [sic]
- The numbers of compressors, with break down by the compressor type
- List of all wells and their types
This ICR has nothing to do with the environment protection. Obama administration publicly announced its goal to cripple and to eventually shut down domestic oil production (“climate leadership”). Further, many EPA officials are linked to extremist climate alarmism outfits, and are accustomed to follow advice (or to fulfill instructions) from those outfits and their associates, including foreign entities such as the Climate Action Network, Greenpeace, and WWF. These EPA officials might be unaware of those entities’ agendas and the consequences of their actions.
There are more than one million oil and gas wells in this country. On the face, the goal of this ICR is to burden the oil producers, most of whom are small businesses, with onerous information collection. But there seems to be a more sinister plan behind it. Most of the requested information is not publicly available, or not available in a bulk (dataset) form. The EPA designated ICR Part 1 as non-confidential and intends to publish this information and make it accessible as a dataset as soon as possible.
The requested data would allow the interested parties to derive additional information, including each site’s output, used technologies, relative importance, and security vulnerabilities. The dataset would be sufficient to make maps of the field pipelines, other oil infrastructure, and to select best targets for physical attacks.
The effect of this EPA action will be exposure of the national oil extraction infrastructure to sabotage and terrorism. In my opinion, it is also the intent, although the responsible EPA officials might be not aware of it. A salient but rarely mentioned fact is that the Climate Action Network, which publicly coordinates such activities, is headquartered in Beirut, Lebanon, which also happens to be a home to multiple terrorist groups.
Publication of the requested information would also put the US oil industry in severe competitive disadvantage.
Oddly, the EPA subcontracted collection and processing of the information to RTI International (www.rti.org), a putatively non-profit corporation with offices all over the world, including China and United Arab Emirates, an OPEC member. The contract number is EP-D-11-084, expired in September 2016. (http://www.rti.org/sites/default/files/brochures/epacollaboration.pdf)