On March 29, 2019, the Environmental Protection Agency issued its final Oil & Natural Gas Exploration and Production Facilities New Owner Audit Program Agreement (Oil & Gas New Owner Audit Policy, or Policy). This voluntary program provides total civil penalty mitigation for qualified new owners of upstream oil and natural gas well sites (including associated storage tanks and air pollution control equipment) who agree to identify and correct Clean Air Act noncompliance at their newly acquired facilities.

The Policy marks a departure from the Obama-era EPA’s reduced emphasis on auditing and self-disclosure. It also marks the first time that the agency has proposed complete penalty forgiveness – including mitigation of economic benefit penalties – for entities that disclose and correct violations in conformance with the guidelines.

Click here to read the full GT Alert.

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Photo of Christopher J. Neumann Christopher J. Neumann

Chris Neumann is a Co-Chair of the firm’s Environmental Practice and counsels clients in the natural gas, petroleum, mining, construction, retail, home building, solid and hazardous waste, and other industries on a wide variety of litigation, environmental, and real estate matters. Chris represents…

Chris Neumann is a Co-Chair of the firm’s Environmental Practice and counsels clients in the natural gas, petroleum, mining, construction, retail, home building, solid and hazardous waste, and other industries on a wide variety of litigation, environmental, and real estate matters. Chris represents clients in connection with internal investigations following spills, pipe failures and other environmental incidents. He also defends clients in connection with civil, criminal and administrative enforcement by USEPA, states, tribes, local governments and citizen groups. Chris has advised clients on litigation and enforcement matters, as well as related auditing and compliance matters, under the Clean Water Act (CWA), Clean Air Act (CAA), Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA), Uranium Mill Tailings Radiation Control Act (UMTRCA), Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act (EPCRA), Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA), Mine Safety and Health Act (MSHA), and numerous other federal, state and tribal laws.

Chris is a trial lawyer and represents clients in complex trials, arbitration proceedings and mediations. He also represents clients in connection with evidentiary hearings and rulemaking proceedings before federal, state and tribal agencies including matters pending before the USEPA, the Colorado Air Quality Control Commission, the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, the Colorado Water Quality Control Commission, the Colorado Mined Land Reclamation Board, and the Colorado Public Utilities Commission. Additionally, Chris assists clients in efforts to obtain land use approvals, in efforts to resolve environmental concerns in complex business transactions, and in real estate acquisitions.

Photo of Bernadette M. Rappold Bernadette M. Rappold

Bernadette M. Rappold focuses her practice on federal and state regulatory issues related to energy, manufacturing, and the environment. Bernadette has substantial litigation experience and advises clients on regulatory compliance as well as the environmental, safety, and health aspects of numerous business and…

Bernadette M. Rappold focuses her practice on federal and state regulatory issues related to energy, manufacturing, and the environment. Bernadette has substantial litigation experience and advises clients on regulatory compliance as well as the environmental, safety, and health aspects of numerous business and real estate transactions, including water, air, and chemical hazards. Bernadette offers clients perspective gained through years of service at the Environmental Protection Agency. While serving as a director of the Special Litigation and Projects Division in the Office of Civil Enforcement at the EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance, Bernadette led complex enforcement actions in response to violations of the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, and other environmental statutes. Her work at the EPA covered a variety of economic and industrial sectors including the oil and gas, chemical, pharmaceutical, telecommunications, and agriculture industries.