Energy Exchange

New companies oppose methane rollbacks but industry divide remains

The stakes are high for businesses to support strengthened Environmental Protection Agency methane regulations.

While there are multiple pathways to achieve a net zero carbon emissions future by 2050 in the U.S., it’s clear that the oil and gas industry can and must virtually eliminate methane emissions. Not only is methane control an environmental priority, it is the most immediate and cost-effective decarbonization option for natural gas. Action on methane is a litmus test of industry’s ability to make necessary changes, and build the muscle to support responsible public policy that cuts emissions and stimulates innovation.

The late November close of the comment period on EPA’s proposal to eliminate methane regulation and exempt large segments of industry from pollution control requirements shows a growing industry divide. A review of industry filings to EPA reveals three game changers for the politics and policy of federal methane regulation.

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Posted in Methane regulatons, Natural Gas / Comments are closed

Congress should act now to accelerate the transition to zero-emission trucks

Every mode of freight transportation – from planes and trains, to trucks and ships — has a significant pollution footprint that dirties the air in communities near freight facilities and highways, while contributing to the climate crisis.

Yet, reducing pollution from the freight movement is not primarily a technology matter. It is a matter of political will.

Today, I hope to convey this message before two House Transportation & Infrastructure subcommittees at an important hearing on the economic, environmental and societal impacts of freight transportation. I also hope that my testimony — and that of others at the hearing — will help the House develop a 2020 transportation bill that builds on the Senate’s version of the Highway Reauthorization Bill approved earlier this year.

With Congressional leadership, we can make tremendous strides in reducing the nearly 11,000 premature deaths annually occurring from exposure to freight pollution in this country and put the sector on a path to contribute to a 100% clean economy by 2050.

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Posted in Air Quality, Electric Vehicles / Comments are closed

Illinois Clean Energy Jobs Act will improve the state’s economic climate

The Illinois Clean Energy Jobs Act is one of the most ambitious climate bills in the country, but it is also a jobs and economic improvement bill. Most legislation gets mired down in talk of price tags, but with CEJA the better question is — how much will the Illinois economy benefit from its passage?

A recent study developed by The Accelerate Group measured the economic impact of CEJA and found the answer — it’s tens of billions of dollars. The new economic impact report released by the Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition shines a light on just how much CEJA would contribute to the state’s economy. Here’s the bottom line: the legislation, if enacted, would result in $39 billion in new private investment in Illinois through 2030.

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Posted in CEJA, Clean Energy, Illinois / Comments are closed

New study finds elevated health risks due to pollution from oil and gas activity in Colorado

By Ananya Roy and Tammy Thompson

As production of oil and gas in the United States has expanded, it’s no longer uncommon to see rigs and well pads nestled in communities. For example, Weld County in Colorado ranked fourth in the nation for population growth in 2017, and has issued thousands of new permits for oil and gas extraction in the past few years. Emissions from the intensive energy development sprouting along highways, in fields and within sight of homes, playgrounds and school yards has led to concerns about rising pollution from this industry and the subsequent health risks.

Communities are concerned about all of the emissions from these operations but focus on the brew of volatile organic compounds that include benzene, toluene and ethyl benzene, since some are known carcinogens or have established impacts on the brain, lungs and blood. VOC emissions, however, vary considerably between different processes. Well sites and changing weather conditions either spread or concentrate the pollution over different distances and directions, suggesting that intermittent measurement campaigns are inadequate to capture population exposures and risks.

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Posted in Air Quality, Colorado, Methane / Comments are closed

Long considered a “clean” energy source, hydropower can actually be bad for climate

A new EDF study published this week in Environmental Science and Technology shows that hydropower — the leading renewable energy technology projected to grow rapidly — is not always as good for the climate as broadly assumed. Moreover, continuing to assume that it is could mean that projects meant to reduce greenhouse emissions will unintentionally increase them instead.

Motivated by pervasive misconceptions of the climate impacts of hydropower, we assessed the warming impacts over time of sustained greenhouse gas emissions estimated from nearly 1,500 existing hydropower plants around the globe. We also looked at the implications of future hydropower development.

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Posted in Methane, Water / Comments are closed

How companies are using electric trucks to reduce air pollution and save money

Earlier this year, Amazon announced it would purchase 100,000 electric trucks like this one as part of its efforts to reduce the company’s carbon footprint.

What do Amazon, Goodwill and PepsiCo have in common? They’re all investing in heavy-duty electric trucks. It’s a move that’s making great strides to reduce air pollution and save money.

Fortunately for these companies, making the switch to electric fleets is about to get a whole lot easier. The California Air Resources Board has just proposed a new standard that will require heavy-duty automotive manufacturers to produce more electric, zero-emission vehicles. Beginning in 2024, there could be thousands more new electric fleet vehicles on the market in California.

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Posted in Air Quality, California, Electric Vehicles / Comments are closed