Energy Exchange

New regional emissions study offers insights into New Mexico’s oil and gas emissions problems

A new study from the Western Regional Air Partnership — a collaboration of state, tribal, and local air agencies, the Environmental Protection Agency, federal land managers, and other local stakeholders — finds methane emissions from New Mexico’s oil and gas facilities are higher than previous estimates and notes regulations could help address the problem.

The research draws on data reported by states, tribes, and the oil and gas industry, and finds oil and gas companies emitted 816,980 tons of methane and smog-forming pollution in 2014 – significantly more than what the industry reported to the EPA.

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Posted in BLM Methane, Methane, Natural Gas, New Mexico / Comments are closed

Making Gas Pipelines Safer for Communities and the Climate

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In response to the deadly natural gas explosion in San Bruno, California, the U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) is proposing new regulations to make pipelines safer. The regulations will go a long way toward safeguarding communities from the risks of natural gas explosions, but, if they’re done right, they could also protect the climate.

Natural gas is mostly methane – a potent climate pollutant, and reducing the amount of gas that leaks from pipelines also reduces emissions of methane. But there are aspects of the proposal that could result in an increase in methane emissions if proper action isn’t taken. The proposed safety measures require operators to conduct more testing to ensure that pipelines can handle high pressures of gas. Before this testing begins pipeline operators have to empty the pipes by blowing gas down the pipeline. Opponents to the rule say this would create a significant increase in methane emissions, but fortunately a recent study from a leading environmental consulting firm concluded otherwise. Read More »

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