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New Trump Era for O&G Sector

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Shortly after Donald Trump’s recent election to serve as the next president of the United States, Jack Gerard, American Petroleum Institute president and CEO, commented that preventing regulatory overreach should be a top priority for the U.S. oil and natural gas industry.

“We look forward to working with the new Congress and the Trump administration to implement voters’ energy priorities and maintain America’s global energy leadership,” Gerard said.

Danny Worrell, an Austin partner with Katten Muchin Rosenman, focuses his practice on transactions, permitting and litigation involving environmental matters. Texas Lawyer recently spoke to Worrell about what effect the new Trump administration will have on the U.S. energy sector. The following discussion has been edited for length and style.

Texas Lawyer: Do you have any advice for your clients that are oil and gas companies about the new regulatory climate under the Trump administration and how that will possibly affect their business operations?

Worrell: A change in administration is always accompanied by speculation about imminent changes that will reflect the statements of the campaign. I would say, however, do not assume oil and gas regulations that might be perceived to be threatened as a result of a change in administration will actually be withdrawn or amended. In addition, do not assume that you will get the changes that you want until they actually happen. Any attempts to withdraw or change the rules will be challenged in court, and resolutions will likely take years.

Moreover, the states have a role in the regulatory process, and their approach will not necessarily change course because of the administration. For example, Texas has its own oil and gas regulations that will not likely be affected by a Trump administration. Except on federal and tribal lands, the bulk of regulations for the oil and gas industry are implemented and enforced by the states.

TL: During his campaign, Trump advocated cutting back the environmental regulations affecting the U.S. oil and gas sector. What actions do you forecast the Trump administration will take in regard to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s new Methane Rule?

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Written by Angela Neville, Texas Lawyer

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