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Oil & Gas Law Research: Primary Authority

Oil & Gas Matters in the Tax Code

The Internal Revenue Code (IRC) addresses how certain oil and gas production, including  the expenses incurred in that production, are treated under tax laws. The IRC is codified at United States Code (USC) Title 26, which can be found in print in the OCU Law Library on the first floor, north wing, at KF 62 2006.A2. Law students can access the USC through Westlaw Next or Lexis Advance; the USC is also available for free on several websites, including FDsys (http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/browse/collectionUScode.action?collectionCode=USCODE) and Cornell's Legal Information Institute (http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text). Also, the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) has rules further explaining applicable statutes. The CFR can be found in print in the OCU Law Library on the first floor, north wing, at at KF70 .A3.  Online, the CFR is accessible through many of the same sites as the USC, including Westalw Next, Lexis Advance, FDsys (http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/browse/collectionCfr.action?collectionCode=CFR), and Cornell's Legal Information Institute (http://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text). Some important federal provisions include:

  • Deductions pertaining to natural resources, including depletion deductions, are codified at 26 USC § 611, et seq. Regulations further explaining these sections can be found at 26 CFR § 1.611-1, et seq
  • Intangible drilling costs may also be deducted as explained at 26 USC § 263(c). This provision is expounded on at 26 CFR § 1.263(c)(1).
  • Tax treatment of mineral production payments are discussed at 26 USC § 636 and 26 CFR § 1.636-1.

 

Environmental Laws & Regulations

The Clean Water Act (CWA), 62 Stat. 1155, regulates contamination in "navigable waters." It is possible that oil & gas operations in close proximity with "navigable waters" may fall within the CWA's purview and therefore, be required to obtained certain permits from the Environmental Protection Agency. The CWA is codified at 33 USC §§ 1251, et seq.

The Endangered Species Act (ESA), Pub.L. 93-205, regulates the protection and habitats of species that have been designated as either threatened or endangered under the ESA. Oil & gas operations that occur within listed species "critical habitats" may need to seek permits from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Department. The ESA is codified at 16 USC §§1531, et seq.

The Comprehensive Environment Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), Pub.L. 96-510, regulates the clean up of sites that have been contaminated with hazardous wastes. "Potentially responsible parties" are liable for the clean up of "hazardous wastes." Oil & gas operators may potentially be considered a "potentially responsible party." CERCLA is codified at 42 USC §§ 9601.

The Solid Waste Disposal Act (SWDA), 79 Stat. 997, also regulates "hazardouse wastes." Although, many materials involved and by-products resulting from oil & gas production are exempt, it is still possible that oil & gas operators could run afoul of the SWDA. The SWDA is codified at 42 USC § 6901.

Other Federal Regulations

Federal Regulations pertaining to Oil and Gas can be found in Code of Federal Regulations (C.F.R.) Title 30 on Mineral Resources. The C.F.R. can be found in print in the OCU Law Library on the first floor, north wing, at KF70 .A3. Online, the C.F.R. can be easily accessed in Westlaw Next by selecting the "Federal Resources" tab and then clicking the link to the C.F.R.

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