What is the State Review Process?

The state review process is a collaborative process by which review teams composed of stakeholders from the oil and gas industry, state environmental regulatory programs, and members of the environmental/public interest communities review state oil and gas waste management programs against a set of guidelines developed and agreed to by all the participating parties.

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Current STRONGER Activities

STRONGER Seeking Comments on Draft State Air Quality Program Guidelines

In October 2012 the STRONGER Board established an Air Workgroup to develop guidelines for state air quality programs related to oil and gas exploration and production. The workgroup includes representatives of state and federal air and oil and gas programs, the oil and gas industry, and environmental organizations. The Workgroup submitted draft guidelines to he STRONGER Board in January, along with a request that the draft be distributed for comments before being finalized. At its January 20, 2014 meeting, the Board approved the workgroup recommendation and established a comment period to end on March 31, 2014. The draft guidelines and glossary of terms can be viewed here:

Draft Air Guidelines »
Glossary of Terms »

Comments are to be directed to jeerb@comcast.net.

STRONGER Developing Fluid Recycling Program Guidelines for States

The STRONGER Board has approved the formation of a workgroup to develop guidelines for the recycling fluids of associated with oil and gas well development and production. This workgroup will include representatives of state and federal agencies, the oil and gas industry, and environmental organizations. The fluids to be addressed include flowback from hydraulic fracturing and water that is produced during the operation of oil and gas wells. The workgroup will propose draft guidelines to the STRONGER Board, which will distribute the draft for comment before finalizing. Requests for additional information should be addressed to info@STRONGERInc.org.

STRONGER Has Released the Report of the Pennsylvania State Review

On September 20, 2013, the STRONGER Board approved for publication and distribution the report of the Pennsylvania Oil and Gas Program review conducted the last week of May, 2013. This report, summarizing the fifth review of the Pennsylvania, contains findings and recommendations of the review team. The report is posted on this website under the Pennsylvania State Reviews. For more information, contact Jim Erb at jeerb@comcast.net or 717-576-2877.

STRONGER Revises Hydraulic Fracturing Guidelines

In 2010 the STRONGER Board approved guidelines for state oil and gas regulatory programs relating to hydraulic fracturing. Stakeholder review teams have compared seven state programs (Pennsylvania, Ohio, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Colorado, North Carolina and Arkansas) against the guidelines.

Although the hydraulic fracturing guidelines were recently developed, several issues have been raised during reviews and STRONGER Board discussions. These include the management of source water supply (recycling/reuse, alternative sources such as acid mine drainage), criteria for groundwater protection through proper well construction (cementing and casing), groundwater monitoring, and monitoring of Bradenhead annular pressures during hydraulic fracturing operations. Consequently, the STRONGER Board decided to reconvene the Hydraulic Fracturing Workgroup to review these and perhaps other issues identified by the workgroup and to recommend revisions to the hydraulic fracturing guidelines.

In 2012 the Hydraulic Fracturing Workgroup developed revisions to the guidelines. These were shared with and reviewed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Bureau of Land Management in the Department of the Interior. Comments from both agencies were considered by the workgroup and proposed hydraulic fracturing guidelines were sent to the Board with a recommendation that they be made widely available for review and comments. On February 1, 2013 the Board approved that recommendation. Subsequently, the proposed changes were distributed to state, industry and environmental organizations for review and comment. Comments were received from six organizations. Those comments were reviewed by the Hydraulic Fracturing Workgroup and several changes resulted. The Workgroup forwarded the revised guidelines to the Board with a recommendation for approval, and on May 13, 2013 the STRONGER Board approved the revisions.

National Petroleum Council (NPC) Report Supports STRONGER

The September 2011 National Petroleum Council (NPC) report "Prudent Development: Realizing the Potential of Abundant North American Natural Gas and Oil Resources" included the statement, "STRONGER should be bolstered and increase the scope of its activities. All states with natural gas and oil production should actively participate in STRONGER and use its recommendations to continuously improve regulation. It should be adequately funded, including from the federal government."

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Shale Gas Production Subcommittee 90-Day Report

The August 2011 Secretary of Energy’s Advisory Board (SEAB) Interim Report on Shale Gas Production included recommendations to improve communication among state and federal regulators: Provide continuing annual support to STRONGER (the State Review of Oil and Natural Gas Environmental Regulation) and to the Ground Water Protection Council for expansion of the Risk Based Data Management System and similar projects that can be extended to all phases of shale gas development.

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