History and Updates
In 1989, the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission (IOGCC) formed a Council on Regulatory Needs composed of environmental and oil and gas regulators representing the major producing areas of the country. There were nine advisors and nine official observers. The Council was funded by a grant from EPA. At the first Council meeting all participants were invited to the table and the stakeholder process was established. This Council was charged with developing guidelines for state oil and gas exploration and production waste regulatory programs.
In early 1990 the Council produced the 1990 Guidelines. The 1990 Guidelines were organized by subject matter. They established environmental objectives for state regulatory programs. Fundamental differences exist from state to state, and within regions within a state in terms of climate, hydrology, geology, economics, and methods of operation. Consequently, regulatory programs vary in order to accommodate the differences in state administrative procedures, laws, and regulatory history. The Guidelines were used as a basis for state reviews.
In 1993 the Guidelines were updated and revised to include abandoned sites and naturally occurring radioactive materials (NORM). Follow-up reviews to document changes resulting from recommendations contained in reports of initial reviews were initiated.
In 1999, State Review of Oil and Natural Gas Environmental Regulations (STRONGER) was formed to manage the state review process. STRONGER received funding from EPA, DOE and API. The 1994 Guidelines were revised in 2000, 2005 and 2010. Important additions were Spill Prevention, Performance Measures to evaluate how well state programs achieve their goals, Stormwater Management, and Hydraulic Fracturing. In 2013 the Hydraulic Fracturing Guidelines were updated, and in 2014 a new section on Air Quality was added to the Guidelines. STRONGER is currently developing a new Guidlines section on Fluids Recycling, to be released in early 2015.