Author Archives: Jon Goldstein

How Cutting Methane Waste Won the West – By Record Numbers

Cactus and Rig credit EarthworksOver the past few months, hundreds of thousands of people across the U.S. have spoken out in support of action on one very important topic: methane.

Methane is the main ingredient of natural gas.  It helps heat our homes and power our economy.  But when leaked or vented into the atmosphere, methane is also a potent greenhouse gas, more than 80 times more powerful than carbon dioxide over a 20 year timeframe.

The oil and gas industry is the nation’s largest source of methane emissions, but new action from the Bureau of Land Management could help change that dynamic out West.

The majority of oil and gas production on federal and tribal lands occurs in the western U.S. Unfortunately, the companies that extract the oil and gas that belongs to the American people are allowing way too much methane to escape to the atmosphere. One recent report found that taxpayers may lose more than $800 million in revenue over the next decade due to venting and flaring on public lands if no action is taken. This is a critical reason for why the BLM recently issued a new proposal designed to stop industry’s wasteful methane habits on federal and tribal lands. And why thousands of impacted community members have voiced their support for BLM’s proposal. Read More »

Posted in Methane, Natural Gas| Read 3 Responses

Time is Money: Strong BLM Methane Waste Rules Should Be Finalized Without Delay

1219_Pocket Watch.TIFWhat do Farmington, NM, Oklahoma City, Lakewood, CO and Dickinson, ND have in common? These cities are in the heart of oil and gas country, and – most importantly – were locations in which the BLM heard overwhelming support for strong efforts to reduce wasteful venting, flaring and leaks from the oil and gas industry at a series of public meetings in recent weeks.

Methane is a potent climate pollutant and the main constituent of natural gas, so when oil and gas companies on public land allow methane to be leaked, burned or vented to the atmosphere, it not only impacts air quality and our climate, it also represents an economic loss to taxpayers.

Individually at each hearing, and collectively across all four, voices supporting strong BLM methane waste and pollution rules far outweighed the opposition. In the final tally, supportive statements outnumbered negative ones by more than three-to-one. This fits with recent polling that found that a bipartisan majority (fully 80 percent) of Westerners support commonsense rules to cut oil and gas waste on BLM managed lands. Read More »

Posted in Air Quality, Climate, Colorado, Energy Efficiency, Methane, Natural Gas| Read 1 Response

You Can’t Argue With Math: BLM’s Methane Rules Enjoy Strong and Diverse Support

BLMsupportThese numbers don’t lie. They represent the strong support new methane waste and pollution reduction rules from the Department of Interior’s Bureau of Land Management enjoy across the west. Methane is a potent climate pollutant and the main constituent of natural gas, so when oil and gas companies on public land allow  methane to be leaked, burned or vented to the atmosphere, it not only impacts air quality and our climate, it also represents an economic loss to taxpayers.

Here’s how this math adds up to a win for taxpayers, public health and the climate. Read More »

Posted in Climate, Colorado, Methane, Natural Gas, Wyoming| Tagged , | Read 3 Responses

BLM’s Proposal To Reduce Methane – Why It Matters For America

13133084873_52c4fb062d_zThe west is rightly known for mountain views and desert vistas. Many of these landscapes are managed by the U.S. Department of Interior’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) on behalf of all Americans. But something else is a major part of the region as well – tens of thousands of oil and gas wells and their associated infrastructure.

More than 90 percent of oil and gas production on BLM lands comes from the Western U.S. The tax and royalty revenue generated by this production is used to fund local infrastructure needs –schools, roads and other improvements — in rural and tribal communities. But due to outdated policies (they have not been significantly revised in 30 years), too much of our natural gas has been going to waste.  That means these communities, and American taxpayers in general, are losing out.

In fact, in 2013, oil and gas companies threw away $330 million worth of the public’s gas according to a recent report – shortchanging the communities that rely on the revenue from these resources most. Read More »

Posted in Methane, Natural Gas| Read 1 Response

Wyoming Proposal to Curb Venting and Flaring Needs Work

flaringWhen operators pull oil out of the ground, it often comes up with copious amounts of natural gas.  This “associated gas” can be captured and brought to market, creating an additional revenue source for operators.  But if no gathering infrastructure or other methods of capture are deployed, operators either vent the gas to the atmosphere or burn it off with controlled flares. Venting results in the release of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas. Flaring results in troublesome emissions as well, including CO2 and hazardous air pollutants.

According to the Wyoming Oil and gas Conservation Commission (WOGCC), Wyoming’s oil and gas operators vented and flared more than five billion cubic feet of natural gas in 2014.  Five billion cubic feet of gas that could be sold to generate taxes and royalties, heat homes and power machinery across the country, instead was wasted. Read More »

Posted in Air Quality, Natural Gas, Wyoming| Tagged , | Comments are closed

PBS Sheds Light on Oil and Gas Industry’s Methane Problem—and Solutions

*UPDATE: On Jan. 22 the Bureau of Land Management announced new rules to curb methane pollution on federal and tribal lands. Click here to show your support for protecting the West from oil & gas pollution.* 

In case you missed it, PBS NewsHour recently took a close look at an issue EDF has been deeply involved in: oil and gas methane emissions.

PBS captured what many across the country have experienced for years – frustration with a significant waste and pollution problem. U.S. oil and gas drillers emit millions of tons of methane into the air every year. This pollution increases global warming and deteriorates air quality. As impacted rancher Don Schreiber in Gobernador, New Mexico told the reporter, the problem is “sobering.”


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Posted in Air Quality, Climate, General, Methane, Natural Gas| Comments are closed
  • Senior Policy Manager
    Jon Goldstein helps lead Environmental Defense Fund's efforts to improve regulation of the oil and gas industry and protect precious air and water resources in the Rocky Mountain region.

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