Congressman Brad Sherman

Representing the 30th District of CALIFORNIA

Sherman Condemns Trump Natural Gas Storage Safety Regulations


Mar 13, 2020
Press Release

Porter Ranch, CA – The Trump administration issued natural gas storage safety regulations over a year after they were required to by law. Worse yet, they're so bad, they are being kept secret. Americans are not allowed to have a copy of these regulations unless they pay a substantial fee to the American Petroleum Institute (API), the lobbyists for the oil and gas industry.

“It's obvious why the Trump administration is not allowing Americans to have a copy of the regulations. The Trump regulations are incredibly weak and are just an invitation to another Aliso Canyon gas blowout,” said Congressman Sherman, who lives about as close as anyone to the site of the world's largest methane blowout (in Porter Ranch October 2015).

In early 2016, Congressman Sherman personally spoke to President Obama and received a commitment that the federal government would issue regulations to ensure the safety of natural gas storage facilities. In late 2016, the Obama administration issued such regulations, which the Trump administration promptly withdrew in 2017.

Sherman successfully fought for legislation that requires the executive branch to have such regulations enforced by June 2018, a deadline the Trump administration ignored for over a year.

“Finally, the Trump administration has issued its safety regulations and they are an abomination,” Sherman continued. “They simply incorporated by reference guidance from the American Petroleum Institute, the lobbyists for the oil and natural gas industry. Virtually all the requirements are permissive -- under the regulations nobody has to do very much of anything.”

The regulations simply incorporate by reference, the American Petroleum Institute’s non-mandatory guidance, so you can only see them on the American Petroleum Institute’s website. And in order to see them on the website you must sign an agreement prohibiting you from printing or sharing a copy. Thus, detailed public discussion of their industry-draft regulations is prevented.

“This is entirely unacceptable,” Sherman concluded. “The Aliso Canyon blowout demonstrated the potential dangers that underground natural gas storage facilities can pose to communities who have a right to know what steps are being taken to oversee such facilities. The whole of these new regulations must be made freely and entirely available to the public.”

Click here to read portions of the regulations you’re allowed to see.