result, Messrs. McClendon and Ward, together with other officers and directors of the Company, are in a position to significantly influence matters requiring the vote or consent of the Company's shareholders. Regulation
General Numerous departments and agencies, federal, state and local, issue rules and regulations binding on the oil and gas industry, some of which carry substantial penalties for failure to comply. The regulatory burden on the oil路 and gas industry mcreases the Company's cost of doing business and, consequently, affects its profitability.
Exploration and Production The Company's operations are subject to various types of regulation at the federal, state and local levels. Such regulation includes requiring permits for the drilling of wells, maintaining bonding requirements in order to drill or operate wells and regulating the location of wells, the method of drilling and casing wells, the surface use and restoration of properties upon which wells are drilled, the plugging and abandoning of wells and the disposal of fluids used or obtained in connection with operations. The Company's operations are also subject to various conservation regulations. These include the regulation of the size of drilling and spacing units and the density of wells which may be drilled and the unitization or pooling of oil and gas properties. In this regard, some states (such as Oklahoma) allow the forced pooling or integration of tracts to facilitate exploration while other states (such as Texas) rely on voluntary pooling of lands and leases. In areas where pooling is voluntary, it may be more difficult to form units and, therefore, more difficult to develop a prospect if the operator owns less than 100% of the leasehold. In addition, state conservation laws establish maximum rates of production from oil and gas wells, generally prohibit the venting or flaring of gas and impose certain requirements regarding the ratability of production. The effect of these regulations is to limit the amount of oil and gas the Company can produce from its wells and to limit the number of wells or the locations at which the Company can drill. The extent of any impact on the Company of such restrictions cannot be predicted.
Environmental and Occupational Regulation General. The Company's activities are subject to existing federal, state and local laws and regulations governing environmental quality and pollution control. It is anticipated that, absent the occurrence of an extraordinary event, compliance with existing federal, state and local laws, rules and regulations concerning the protection of the environment and human health will not have a material effect upon the operations, capital expenditures, earnings or the competitive position of the Company. The Company cannot predict what effect additional regulation or legislation, enforcement policies thereunder and claims for damages for injuries to property, employees, other persons and the environment resulting from the Company's operations could have on its activities. Activities of the Company with respect to the exploration, development and production of oil and natural gas are subject to stringent environmental regulation by state and federal authorities including the United States Environmental Protection Agency ("EPA"). Such regulation has increased the cost of planning, designing, drilling, operating and in some instances, abandoning wells. In most instances, the regulatory requirements relate to the handling and disposal of drilling and production waste products and waste created by water and air pollution control procedures. Although the Company believes that compliance with environmental regulations will not have a material adverse effect on operations or earnings, risks of substantial costs and liabilities are inherent in oil and gas operations, and there can be no assurance that significant costs and liabilities, including criminal penalties, will not be incurred. Moreover, it is possible that other developments, such as stricter environmental laws and regulations, and claims for damages for injuries to property or persons resulting from the Company's operations could result in substantial costs and liabilities.
Waste Disposal. The Company currently owns or leases, and has in the past owned or leased, numerous properties that for many years have been used for the exploration and production of oil and gas. Although the Company has utilized operating and disposal practices that were standard in the industry at the time, 15