January 18, 2017

The future of the energy industry under President Trump: part 4

Posted by Scott Segal

Taking a look at personnel safety.

President Trump’s inauguration is this Friday and as the US gets ready for its next president, we have asked Scott Segal, partner at Policy Resolution Group, for his insight on what he thinks the Trump presidency will have on the energy industry, policies, and overall performance in the market.

For the fourth instalment of this five-part series, we examine safety culture in the US oil and gas industry. Mr Segal shares his views on any regulatory reform that will impact this area for energy companies.

The Trump campaign said little on workplace safety as a general matter, whether specific to the energy sector or more generally to the manufacturing sector at large. There is not likely to be any significant expansion in government resources in this area. For example, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had promised to revisit the long-suffering ergonomics rule. That seems unlikely in a Trump administration.

The safest prediction would be to simply look to the more general deregulatory impulse that underlies the Trump campaign. After all, he did promise: “We’re going to cut down regulations between 85% – 90%”. One might imagine that Mr Trump’s long history in the construction business has given him a firm understanding of safety regulation and a dislike for enforcement priorities he may feel reflect a certain overzealousness on the part of federal regulators. 

It is hard to tell what of specific reference to energy production might be slowed or revisited. Certainly, there are electronic recordkeeping and anti-retaliation rules that may be costly. The silica exposure rule has been of some concern to shale development sites. 

But the biggest shift may be in enforcement, which is likely to swing back from harsh penalties and adversarial actions more in the direction of compliance assurance activities. Voluntary programs under which firms in the energy sector (for example, refining) have made enhanced commitments have proven effective but were not particularly favoured by the Obama Administration. Such Voluntary Protection programs, with their proven record of success, could again be welcome as compliance strategies.


On Thursday we conclude this series with what foreign oil and gas companies operating in the US can expect under the Trump Administration, along with the important question, will we see $100 oil again under the Trump presidency?

Want to catch up on the other blogs in the series? Read Potential positive policieshere, Taking a look at both sides of the coin here, and What will become of President Obama’s environmental legacy? here.

Scott Segal is a partner with PRG. He has over two decades of experience across a broad range of policy and communications issues, with particular experience dealing with energy, the environment, and natural resources. Other areas of experience range from healthcare to financial services to trade and manufacturing issues. A practising lawyer, Scott assists clients with effective participation in the legislative and regulatory processes. Read his full bio here.  

 

Policy Resolution Group

The Policy Resolution Group (PRG) at Bracewell helps clients around the world navigate our complex federal landscape. They create and implement successful strategies to achieve our clients’ government relations objectives. PRG provides counsel and services in Legislative and Regulatory Affairs, Information Gathering and Political Analysis, Strategic Communications and Legal Representation. Uniquely, PRG delivers results across all these areas – for corporations, industry coalitions, trade associations, entrepreneurs, investors, financial institutions and government entities.

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