Energy Exchange

Three ways Zinke failed as Interior Secretary. Why the next Secretary will likely fail, too.

USDA photo by Lance Cheung.

This blog was co-authored by David Festa and Dan Grossman.

Two years ago, a colleague of ours penned a blog titled, “How Interior pick can make good on Trump's promise to honor Theodore Roosevelt.”

Looking back now, it was optimistic for any of us to believe that Ryan Zinke could fulfill the responsibilities of the Interior Secretary, when it’s clear that the Trump administration has no respect for America’s natural resources and cultural heritage.

Here are three reasons why Zinke failed as Interior Secretary, and why we are deeply skeptical that his replacement will succeed, either.

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Posted in Methane, Natural Gas / Comments are closed

EPA methane rollbacks contradict agency’s own scientific findings

By Rosalie Winn and Hillary Hull

As the world races to adopt cleaner fuels and implement carbon-reducing strategies to combat a warming climate, the Trump administration is moving feverishly to severely weaken federal methane emissions regulations across the entire oil and gas industry.

The Trump EPA’s current proposal to weaken the New Source Performance Standards 2016 methane rule will add 480,000 tons of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, into the atmosphere within the next seven years, while simultaneously wasting tens of millions of dollars-worth of natural gas.

The EPA is proposing to weaken the current standards in the face of recent research warning that excessive waste of natural gas (methane) from the oil and gas sector is much higher than previously estimated, underscoring the harmful climate implications of methane leaks from oil and gas production well sites. This move also comes on the heels of a new federal government report published last month highlighting the dire social and economic consequences of climate change.

Particularly baffling is that the EPA’s own new analysis recognizes that increasing methane detection efforts will reduce methane emissions in the atmosphere, and doing so is more cost-effective than originally estimated by the agency. Despite the agency’s own scientific conclusions, the Trump EPA is choosing to move forward and weaken the standards, disregarding logic and common sense. Read More »

Posted in Methane, Natural Gas / Comments are closed

Investors call on BP, Exxon, Shell to defend EPA methane regulations

Last week, investors representing $1.9 trillion assets under management called on 30 oil and gas companies, urging them to publicly oppose the EPA’s proposed weakening of its methane rules. This letter is signed by investors including CalSTRS, the New York City Comptroller’s Office, and Robeco, all of which have joined together to say no to these regulatory rollbacks.

Investors look to minimize risk while maximizing value. Methane emissions are a risk, and the proposed rule changes will increase emissions by the EPA’s own estimates. So it is no surprise that investors with nearly $2 trillion worth of assets are speaking up to defend this risk-reducing rule.

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Posted in Methane, Natural Gas / Tagged , , | Comments are closed

Methane rollbacks test BP, ExxonMobil, Shell commitments to support Paris goals

By Ben Ratner and Nat Keohane

As business executives join leaders from government and civil society for COP24 in Katowice, Poland, a regulatory rollback across the Atlantic puts a sharp focus on the seriousness of energy companies’ commitments to support the goals of the Paris Agreement.

The recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change special report detailed the devastating consequences from a rapidly warming planet. One critical piece of the solution is reducing emissions of highly potent short-lived climate pollutants. In fact, deep reductions in emissions of non-CO2 pollutants, particularly methane, are essential to staying below temperature targets, and have the added benefits of improving public health, food security, and ecosystems.

The oil and gas industry is a leading source of potent methane emissions. But in the world’s largest oil and gas producing nation—the United States—the Trump Administration is working to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, while simultaneously rolling back common sense standards to limit methane emissions from the oil and gas industry.

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Posted in Climate, Methane, Natural Gas / Tagged , , , | Comments are closed

EPA hearing illustrates broad support for methane rule

By Rosalie Winn and Matthew McGee

Last month, EPA held its one and only public hearing on a proposed rollback of federal methane protections.

The Trump Administration’s attempt to gut rules that cut methane pollution from new and modified oil and gas facilities—the first step of a two-pronged effort to eliminate federal regulation of methane altogether—was met by near-universal condemnation from the scores of individuals who testified at EPA’s Denver headquarters.

Opposition to the rollback came from many corners: parents concerned for their children’s health, tribal members worried about the toll on their native lands, and investors and scientists alarmed at the threat to our economy and climate.

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Posted in Methane, Natural Gas / Tagged | Comments are closed

Grinch utilities and regulators spoil holidays by forcing customers to pay billions for Midwest coal plants

Thanks to Midwest utilities, regulators and a pair of unprofitable power plants, electricity customers in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana will get a lump of coal this holiday season. The owners keep running these plants at a big loss – projected at over $5 billion – resulting in higher electricity prices and polluting power that isn’t needed.

A challenging setup

As part of the Ohio Valley Electric Corporation (OVEC), the two plants sit in southern Ohio and Indiana. Nearly 65 years old, these plants were built to power a plant in Piketon, Ohio that enriched uranium for nuclear weapons for the Cold War. The uranium facility ceased operations in 2001, but the power plants continue on.

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Posted in FirstEnergy, General, Ohio / Comments are closed