Author Archives: Amanda Johnson

Recent California decision indicates utility’s willingness to address climate pollution

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) recently approved a settlement requiring Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) to address environmental, as well as safety, factors when fixing natural gas leaks.

This comes on the heels of a similar settlement issued by the New York Public Service Commission in December. Together these decisions are ringing in a trend in which the environmental impacts of methane leaking from pipelines are being recognized.

Methane – the main component of natural gas — is responsible for about a quarter of current global warming, and awareness about the magnitude of methane that leaks from local pipelines has been mounting. Read More »

Posted in California, Climate, Methane, Natural Gas| Comments are closed

REPORT: CA Utilities Are Leaking Lots of Gas – but There’s a Way to Stop It

A new report confirms with greater accuracy than ever before that California natural gas utilities are letting huge amounts of their product escape into the atmosphere – about 6.6 billion cubic feet in 2015. That’s more than the amount of gas released during last year’s Aliso Canyon disaster, and over twice the total loss from all of the state’s oil and gas wells.

These huge gas losses are a major environmental problem. Methane – the main ingredient in natural gas – is a potent climate pollutant.  Leaks and other emissions from California utilities in 2015 have the same climate impact as burning more than 1 billion gallons of gasoline.

Where the data comes from and what it means

In 2014 California passed SB 1371, a new law requiring utilities to reduce methane emissions. This new report is based on emissions data collected under that law.  Read More »

Posted in General, Methane, Natural Gas| Comments are closed

Sacramento is Thinking Big on Methane and Natural Gas

Bill schoolhouse rockYear two of the California legislative cycle usually yields some bold policy ideas – and this year it looks like rethinking California’s relationship with methane and natural gas is on track to do just that.

Given the fresh memories of the major methane pollution event at Aliso Canyon, the 20-plus bills introduced on the topic this legislative session – vastly more than in past years – aren’t surprising in the least. Moreover, 2016 could have a monumental effect on the methane and natural gas picture in the state for years to come.

What is responsible for this sudden increase in efforts to change California’s relationship with methane and natural gas.

The science is clear

First, the science is clear, as methane, the primary component of natural gas, is responsible for about 25% of the manmade climate change we’re experiencing today. With temperature records being broken nearly daily (2015 was the hottest year on record, and February 2016 was the hottest month ever globally), the cat is out of the bag – it’s past time to focus on methane.

The legislative pump is primed

California started down the path of finding solutions to address methane emissions years ago with a series of bills and policy actions, and in many ways the 2016 bill package doubles down on that progress. Read More »

Posted in Methane, Natural Gas| Read 3 Responses
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