State Stormwater Policy Overview for the Oil and Gas Industry

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Expansion of the natural gas industry has focused attention on the environmental impacts associated with its extraction and production, including potential surface water degradation through the pathway of stormwater. Effective policies, demonstrated in part by strong regulation coupled with robust enforcement, aid in mitigation of environmental impacts. For the oil and gas sector, primary oversight of stormwater management is focused at the state level due to industry exemptions from federal statutes. This report investigates how ten states have crafted regulations in absence of federal policy. It provides a qualitative analysis of disparities amongst states and provides considerations for policy amendments. The regulatory review is complemented by an exploration of the Pennsylvania and Colorado enforcement programs, where frequency of enforcement actions, penalty assessments, and types of violations are investigated. Findings show that both states face challenges in designing enforcement programs that effectively influence compliance.
The regulatory and enforcement pieces are synthesized through a discussion of the difference in these policy tools and how that is specifically characterized in the case study of oil and gas stormwater regulations. The study concludes that states can best prioritize resources by focusing attention on designing effective regulations. Still, enforcement programs might be improved by implementing innovative methods of encouraging compliance in addition to traditional tools.





Ediger, Anna (2014). State Stormwater Policy Overview for the Oil and Gas Industry. Master's project, Duke University. Retrieved from

Dukes student scholarship is made available to the public using a Creative Commons Attribution / Non-commercial / No derivative (CC-BY-NC-ND) license.