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Abstract The following will illustrate how laws and public concerns can serve as a framework for oil and gas exploration, drilling, and production. It will outline several case histories and how different laws and motivations intersect and shape the industry. This is a comprehensive analysis of laws governing a particular region's actions and examined on a federal, state and, in some cases, local level. Other factors, including public image and community feedback are evaluated, too. Three case histories are explored. These are presented via a timeline of events leading up to an implementation, reevaluation, and/or development of legislation and/or legal decision. Other legislation is assessed on how an Act (e.g. Clean Air, Clean Water) is initiated apart from the oil and gas realm and then eventually adopted to address certain public concerns. In most cases, regulations were already set in place and oil and gas entities had to interpret accordingly and work within determined protocols. In some cases, incidents occurred that, in turn, created new legislation and/or set expectations that had implications for how the industry would execute future projects. Incidents include a case of negligence and how the specific company responded as well as other operators located in the immediate vicinity. The regulations and/or best management practices that were created because of the incident will also be discussed. Other cases illustrate the cultural norms surrounding a particular set of legislation. An operator may be familiar with one area yet when branching out to other locations, conclude that the new area is not financially feasible for them due to the different technology and documentation required. Bigger and/or local operators have made these ventures profitable. A comprehensive report on regulations and how operators execute them will also be provided. Impacts and effects on the oil and gas entities as well as the social and natural communities are assessed, illustrating the important connection between the residential/individual communities and the business entities via the government bodies to hear both sides and appropriately represent the cases at hand.
Al Gore’s book, An Inconvenient Truth, awakened us to how our life styles and business practices are impacting our world; accelerating pace of melting polar ice caps, rising seas, toxic chemicals in our water and food supplies, climate changes, and limited access to resources. Concern over a toxic environment is not new. Rachel Carson exposed the dangers of pesticides in her book, Silent Spring. Now we understand the impact industry and life styles have on our environment, and we are requiring a personal and professional environmental accountability for our actions.
Businesses are looking for green solutions. Corporate social responsibility is becoming the new yard stick that individuals, society, and companies are using to determine who they will work for, invest in, and do business with. It is no longer acceptable to do no harm; you now must do some good for your employees, the environment, and your community. Companies are seeking out these new business solutions that address profits, the environment, and society which is referred to as the “Triple Bottom-Line.”
Companies have a sense of urgency to implement green solutions. The safety, health and environmental professional is taking on a risk management role, looking at a 360° view of possible solutions, beyond the task and solution and evaluating how these changes can introduce new loss exposures to the workplace and community. These professionals will evaluate new technology and chemical/mechanical/biological exposures for which little information may be available. Many of these potential hazards are not regulated, evaluated, or adequately addressed by existing OSHA standards. Hazardous chemical exposures in particular present challenges because substitution is not always a workable solution. These chemicals may not have complete safety analysis, be too costly, or they may not fit the task’s technical requirements. Socially responsible companies demand the highest level of job safety, creating a culture of protection as opposed to a culture of compliance or, as Ray Anderson of Interface calls the practice, “being as bad as the law will allow.”
HSE Horizons - This is an edited version of paper SPE 83062, which was prepared for presentation at the SPE/EPA/DOE Exploration and Production Environmental Conference held in San Antonio, Texas, 10-12 March 2003.