Non-profit

Oil and Gas Accountability Project

Formation:

1999

The Oil and Gas Accountability Project (OGAP) is a project of Earthworks which focuses on federal, state, and local reform to increase government regulation of the energy sector. OGAP focuses most of its advocacy in the American West, especially in New Mexico and Colorado, and promotes left-of-center energy policy, specifically against the conventional fuels industry.

History

The Oil and Gas Accountability Project began in 1999 to work with people to fight against the development of oil and natural gas as energy resources. [1]

In 2005, OGAP joined forces with the Mineral Policy Center, another environmentalist organization, to create Earthworks. [2] Today, Earthworks serves as OGAP’s umbrella organization, targeting clean water and biodiversity development while encouraging heavy regulation of the energy industry. [3] Earthworks has since grown to be a powerful environmentalist coalition, reporting $4,538,430 in revenue and an additional $2,221,676 in assets at the end of 2017. [4]

Activity

Oil and Gas Accountability Project focuses on fighting energy use by expanding government oversight and working to publish scientific reports and recommendations which encourage decreased fuel production. In the past fifteen years, eight states have adopted OGAP’s best practices for oil and gas regulation.

Federal Activism

On the federal level, OGAP is focused on closing purported “gaps” in federal regulation, specifically when it comes to natural gas extraction by hydraulic fracturing. [5] Although OGAP insists that it is built on sound science, its demands for increasing fracking regulations run directly against a 2004 report from the Environmental Protection Agency, which concluded that fracking “poses little or no threat to drinking water.” [6]

In 2015, OGAP was one of the main environmental backers of the “Frack Pack,” a group of five bills which aimed to create mass government oversight of fossil fuels. [7] Two of these bills, took aim at the fracking natural gas industry by mandating constant government monitoring of water quality near all planned extraction sites. [8] Other proposals focused on expanding government regulatory powers by closing “loopholes” in the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act to further regulate oil and gas production. A further proposal sought to further tighten oversight by subjecting oil and gas waste to hazardous waste laws. [9]

State Activism

Aside from federal advocacy, OGAP has launched several initiatives to expand state regulations of fossil fuels. OGAP published a “landowners’ guide for oil and gas development” to instruct landowners and community members to reject fossil fuel development in the vicinity of their properties. [10]

OGAP’s state policy mirrors its federal interests, calling for increased oversight in all sectors of fossil fuel energy production and disposable. [11] OGAP takes a grassroots approach to organizing at the state level, which includes going into local communities to investigate pollution and then organizing those communities to push for increased regulation. [12]

New Mexico and Colorado have been two of the largest OGAP-targeted states. OGAP has lobbied for regulation such as the “pitless” rule, a regulation that no longer allows storage of oil and gas waste in unlined pits. [13] In New Mexico, OGAP has worked to pass legislation which will impose fines as high as $15,000 per day in case of accidents that result in pollution, and the group has passed legislation to prevent mineral extraction from New Mexico’s Valle Vidal. [14] [15] In Colorado, OGAP has pushed for increased regulation which requires companies to remove all abandoned flow lines and provide the government with extensive documentation of their installation, design, and locations. [16]

People and Funding

Oil and Gas Accountability Project is funded by Earthworks, which receives grants from numerous foundations across the United States. In 2017, OGAP specifically received a $3 million grant from the MacArthur Foundation to continue its research on methane emissions in the six highest-emission states in the US. [17] The exact budget of OGAP is not disclosed as of August 2019.

OGAP was founded by Travis Stills and Gwen Lachelt. [18] Stills and Lachelt met by working in the San Juan Citizens Alliance, a left-wing environmental watchdog organization. [19] Lachelt is a commissioner of La Plata County, and says she ran for public office in order to impose greater regulations on land use for the sake of the climate. [20] For her work with OGAP, Lachelt was named a national finalist for the Leadership for a Changing World award by the Ford Foundation in 2005. [21]

References

  1. “About.” Earthworks, 2019. https://earthworks.org/about/. ^
  2. “About.” Earthworks, 2019. https://earthworks.org/about/. ^
  3. “About.” Earthworks, 2019. https://earthworks.org/about/. ^
  4. Earthworks. Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax. Form 990. 2017. Part I, Line 22. ^
  5. “Oil & Gas Accountability Project.” Earthworks, 2019. https://earthworks.org/about/our-mission/reform_governments/oil_gas_accountability_project/. ^
  6. “Evaluation of Impacts to Underground Sources of Drinking Water by Hydraulic Fracturing of Coalbed Methane Reservoirs; National Study Final Report.” EPA. Environmental Protection Agency, 2004. ^
  7. “Tell Congress: Support the Frack Pack!.” Earthworks. Accessed August 24, 2019. http://org.salsalabs.com/o/676/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=14099&_ga=2.262995151.215027315.1566570327-1390871065.1566480725 ^
  8. “Tell Congress: Support the Frack Pack!.” Earthworks. Accessed August 24, 2019. http://org.salsalabs.com/o/676/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=14099&_ga=2.262995151.215027315.1566570327-1390871065.1566480725 ^
  9. “Tell Congress: Support the Frack Pack!.” Earthworks. Accessed August 24, 2019. http://org.salsalabs.com/o/676/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=14099&_ga=2.262995151.215027315.1566570327-1390871065.1566480725 ^
  10. Pace, Jessica. “’I Can Take the Long View’.” Durango Herald. Durango Herald, September 13, 2015. https://durangoherald.com/articles/95353-i-can-take-the-long-view. ^
  11. “Oil & Gas Accountability Project.” Earthworks, 2019. https://earthworks.org/about/our-mission/reform_governments/oil_gas_accountability_project/. ^
  12. Heikkinen, Niina. “Health Effects of Oil and Gas Emissions Investigated in Texas.” Scientific American, June 12, 2017. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/health-effects-of-oil-and-gas-emissions-investigated-in-texas/. ^
  13. “Oil & Gas Accountability Project.” Earthworks, 2019. https://earthworks.org/about/our-mission/reform_governments/oil_gas_accountability_project/. ^
  14. “NM Legislation Requires More Accountability from Oil, Gas Industry.” NM Legislation Requires More Accountability from Oil Gas Industry / Public News Service, February 27, 2019. https://www.publicnewsservice.org/2019-02-27/environment/nm-legislation-requires-more-accountability-from-oil-gas-industry/a65646-1. ^
  15. Pace, Jessica. “’I Can Take the Long View’.” Durango Herald. Durango Herald, September 13, 2015. https://durangoherald.com/articles/95353-i-can-take-the-long-view. ^
  16. Associated Press. “Colorado Proposes New Oil-Gas Line Regs After Firestone Blast.” Colorado Public Radio, October 17, 2017. https://www.cpr.org/2017/10/17/colorado-proposes-new-oil-gas-line-regs-after-firestone-blast/. ^
  17. Heikkinen, Niina. “Health Effects of Oil and Gas Emissions Investigated in Texas.” Scientific American, June 12, 2017. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/health-effects-of-oil-and-gas-emissions-investigated-in-texas/. ^
  18. Pace, Jessica. “’I Can Take the Long View’.” Durango Herald. Durango Herald, September 13, 2015. https://durangoherald.com/articles/95353-i-can-take-the-long-view. ^
  19. Pace, Jessica. “’I Can Take the Long View’.” Durango Herald. Durango Herald, September 13, 2015. https://durangoherald.com/articles/95353-i-can-take-the-long-view. ^
  20. Pace, Jessica. “’I Can Take the Long View’.” Durango Herald. Durango Herald, September 13, 2015. https://durangoherald.com/articles/95353-i-can-take-the-long-view. ^
  21. Pace, Jessica. “’I Can Take the Long View’.” Durango Herald. Durango Herald, September 13, 2015. https://durangoherald.com/articles/95353-i-can-take-the-long-view. ^
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