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Mutz, K. M. (Natural Resources Law Center University of Colorado Law School) | Rice, K. L. (Natural Resources Law Center University of Colorado Law School) | Walker, L.. (Natural Resources Law Center University of Colorado Law School) | Palomaki, A. C. (Natural Resources Law Center University of Colorado Law School) | Yost, K. D. (Natural Resources Law Center University of Colorado Law School)
Abstract The Intermountain West Oil and Gas BMP Project (BMP Project) is a collaborative effort of the Natural Resources Law Center and its partners, including the Environmentally Friendly Drilling Program. The BMP Project has developed a comprehensive, free-access, searchable, web-based database of oil and gas best management practices (BMPs) for the Intermountain West (). The database includes over 7, 000 BMPs addressing air and water quality, soils, visual aesthetics, health and safety, wildlife, and other resources. These BMPs are currently required or recommended for responsible resource management by various levels of government, communities, conservation organizations, industry groups, or individual companies. The project website includes resource pages on development issues and controversies as well as case studies of industry efforts to minimize environmental impacts. A community page illustrates community-industry efforts to negotiate, rather than litigate the best options for rational development. The BMP database focuses on source materials regarding both conventional and unconventional development from the Intermountain West states of Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Colorado and New Mexico. The website resource pages also focus on the Intermountain West, but draw on information from unconventional gas developments beyond this region. This paper describes the Intermountain Oil and Gas BMP project resources and addresses the role of BMPs within the range of law and policy options available for facilitating development while promoting environmental and community health and safety. The paper also summarizes what is known of the efficacy and cost effectiveness of BMPs. Communities embrace development for the economic benefit it brings to their areas, but both communities and conservation groups vigorously work to prevent oil and gas development from recklessly disrupting their lives and destroying sensitive environments. Governments consider new means to control impacts while still promoting development. Many companies work to balance cost effective production with practices that protect the environment and the communities they impact. The Intermountain BMP project helps these stakeholders identify appropriate practices for minimizing impacts to surface resources during planning, design, construction, drilling, operations, reclamation, and monitoring. BMP Project resources can also help stakeholders learn to work together to fuel the country's energy requirements and address the economic needs of communities without sacrificing the quality of their environment.
Al Gore's book "An Inconvenient Truth" awakened us to how our life styles and our business practices are impacting our world; accelerating pace of melting polar ice caps, rising seas, toxic chemicals in our water & food supplies, climate changes (floods & droughts), limited access to resources. We are now requiring a personal and professional environmental accountability for our actions. The process of manufacturing, distribution, and disposal of or recycling of products is going green, but green jobs are not necessarily safe jobs. These changes provide opportunities for the safety professional in the areas of: the health and safety, product safety, and environmental protection.
This paper (SPE 51006) was revised for publication from paper SPE 46868, first presented at the 1998 SPE International Conference on Health, Safety and Environment in Oil and Gas Exploration and Production held in Caracas, 7 10 June. Original manuscript received 24 March 1998. This paper has not been peer reviewed. Introduction Health, safety, and environmental (HSE) risks and their management concern the international oil and gas E&P industry. The main objective of integrated risk management is to contribute significantly to achieving business objectives and thereby provide the key to sustainable development in the next millennium. Risk management is defined as "the process whereby decisions are made to accept a known or assessed risk and/or the implementation of actions to reduce the consequences or probability of occurrence." It is not simply reduction of risk. A more realistic objective would be to strike an appropriate balance at the conceptual stage between benefits from reduced risk, expense of that reduction, and gains from the enterprise. An objective judgment can then be made on how to operate to optimize the level of risk on a day-to-day basis. Some risks, however, are simply unacceptable and therefore not a matter of compromise or optimization. As with all management, risk management is concerned with setting and achieving goals that support overall company or societal goals. P. 73
This paper was prepared for presentation at the 1998 SPE International Conference on Health, Safety and Environmental in Oil and Gas Exploration and Production held in Caracas, Venezuela, 7–10 June 1998.