This year’s PBPA annual meeting was a tremendous success, by all accounts. I want to thank all of you for attending and give a special thanks to our sponsors and speakers.
As we heard from both our elected officials and our CEO panelists, the Permian Basin is the place to be economically and should remain so for many years to come.
Those of us who live and work out here recognize that and we also realize there is no shortage of challenges facing the industry which could severely hamper development. Our industry remains in the political and regulatory crosshairs of many who do not appreciate our industry’s recent success.
There is some good news to report on the regulatory front. Last month, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service endorsed the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies’ (WAFWA) Lesser Prairie Chicken Range-Wide Conservation Plan which PBPA and our member companies have worked tirelessly on for well over a year now.
The range-wide plan (RWP) represents a dedicated effort by stakeholders in the five range states of Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Colorado to conserve the Lesser Prairie Chicken. “The unprecedented collaborative efforts of WAFWA and the five state wildlife agencies have produced a sound conservation plan for the Lesser Prairie Chicken,” said Service Director Dan Ashe. “We applaud the states’ commitment to lead conservation actions across the bird’s range.”
Director Ashe also stated “The Service is pleased to endorse the Range-Wide Conservation Plan as a comprehensive conservation program that is consistent with the criteria set forth in the 4(d) special rule proposed by the Service on May 6, 2013 (78 FR 26302-26308). We find it to reflect a sound conservation design and strategy that, when implemented, will provide a net conservation benefit to Lesser Prairie Chicken.”
This endorsement does not imply that implementing the RWP will preclude the need to list the Lesser Prairie Chicken but it does provide our members an opportunity to voluntarily enroll their acreage in the plan and by doing so, demonstrate a major conservation commitment which the Service should view favorably in their decision whether to list.
The state regulatory front is active as well. As a reminder, Railroad Commission Statewide Rule 13 regarding casing, cementing and completion requirements becomes effective on January 1, 2014.
PBPA has hosted several workshops on Rule 13 to inform our membership as to the new guidelines. This new rule will increase costs for operators and many of you have expressed concern to us regarding the new requirements and costs. Fortunately, the Commission is listening to our concerns and appears willing to address many of them.
Another Railroad Commission rulemaking underway is proposed amendments to State Wide Rules 9, 36 and 46. These rules address injection and disposal wells. PBPA has submitted comments and suggestions to the initial draft rule proposals and are working on additional comments. I encourage you to view the draft rules on our website, www.pbpa.info.
The New Mexico legislative session begins in January and although it is a 30-day session, I am certain there will be bills filed to limit hydraulic fracturing and access to water resources.
I look forward to a successful 2014 as we fight many of the same battles again and take on a few new challenges.