Follow-up to State Reviews
It became apparent early in the state review process that the success of the state review program needed to be measured. There were efforts, led by former Congressman Eckert of Ohio, to repeal the RCRA exemption. The individual states knew of improvements they had made to state programs after reviews were conducted, but there was no documentation of those improvements.
In 1994, IOGCC decided to begin conducting follow-up reviews to document those changes. In 1994, a former state oil and gas agency head from California conducted a review of changes made in Wyoming. In 1995, a similar review, conducted by the oil and gas program chief from Kansas, occurred in Oklahoma. These reviews, and the reports prepared by the reviewers, documented program changes made during the three years since the initial reviews.
The reports of those two follow-up reviews were not always well accepted. EPA, environmental representatives and some state officials felt the reviews were inadequate for several reasons. The primary complaint was that the reviews were each conducted by a single individual rather than by representatives of all stakeholders in the process, so differing points of view were not included. Additionally, documentation of changes was not provided in the reports.
And, the revised guidelines were not used to measure program changes or the additional subject areas of NORM and abandoned sites. Consequently, in December 1995, the IOGCC State Review Committee was charged with developing a follow-up review process that addressed these concerns. The committee was also charged with reducing costs below the average $60,000 cost realized for the initial reviews.
During 1996, the committee completed its task. The result was a streamlined follow-up review process. The state that volunteered for follow-up review was requested to respond to all recommendations from the initial review, and to complete a questionnaire designed to compare the program against the revised guidelines. This included information on NORM and abandoned wells. A follow-up review team was designed to include two state representatives, one industry representative and one environmental representative, preferably individuals who participated in the initial review and had prior knowledge of the state program. Federal observers were also invited to participate, and local observers were invited at their own expense. The review was scheduled to last no more than three days.
In 1997, a follow-up review was conducted in Pennsylvania. The review team spent one day interviewing program staff and two days drafting a report. Clerical and administrative support was provided by the state. The draft report was reviewed by the state and finalized by the review team. The review cost $11,585.