Author Archives: Jon Goldstein

Busy in the Beehive: Utah joins growing list of states tackling oil and gas pollution

Ozone pollution — also known as smog — is a growing problem in Utah, both in the state’s urban areas and in largely rural regions where oil and gas development has been directly tied to unhealthy air.

That’s why new draft rules for oil and gas emissions released yesterday are a breath of fresh air for the Beehive State.

These new standards are designed to reduce the amount of smog-forming volatile organic compound (VOC) pollution emitted from both new and existing oil and gas sites across Utah. If strengthened and finalized as soon as possible, these rules will help limit Utah’s smog problem and protect Utah families from asthma attacks, respiratory problems and other health issues. Read More »

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

Be prepared: Why the smart oil and gas producers are leaning in despite uncertainty

Be Prepared. It’s not just the Boy Scout motto, it’s also the way most smart businesses try to operate. Better to anticipate future compliance issues today and bake them into your forward planning, than to be caught flatfooted tomorrow.

That is a big part of the reason major multinational oil and gas producers like ExxonMobil and Shell have said they are already following methane pollution rules finalized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency last year. Despite EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s best efforts to delay implementation of these rules, the courts have repeatedly ruled in favor of their speedy and complete implementation.

Most recently the DC Circuit last week rejected the latest attempt to undermine methane pollution limits for sources in the oil and gas sector and put those standards into full force and effect. It’s a decision that shows the wisdom of ExxonMobil’s and Shell’s strategy to lean in on regulatory compliance (and highlights the danger for other oil and gas producers that seem to be content dragging their feet and exposing their investors to compliance risk). Read More »

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

New study confirms (again): New Mexico’s methane hot spot largely tied to oil and gas pollution

In 2014, NASA scientists published their discovery of a methane “hot spot” hovering over New Mexico’s San Juan Basin. The 2,500-square-mile methane cloud is the largest area of elevated methane concentration ever measured in the U.S., and is so big scientists can spot it from space.

While some have tried to debate the cause of the hot spot, it is more than mere coincidence that the San Juan Basin is one of the most productive natural gas fields in North America, and that oil and gas development is the leading industrial cause of methane emissions nationally.

Manmade methane emissions  are an urgent concern for scientists and policy makers since they are responsible for about a quarter of current global warming, which is why Scientists from NASA and NOAA embarked on a series of studies to try to pinpoint the source of New Mexico’s methane cloud. Read More »

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

$1.5 billion and counting: real time “waste ticker” reveals value of publicly owned gas that private companies waste

Across the country, oil and gas companies allow massive quantities of natural gas, worth billions of dollars, to leak into the air — and when it happens on federal lands, it’s the American public who loses.  A new interactive tool lets users see, in real time, just how much American-owned gas private companies waste every second.

Read More »

Posted in BLM Methane, Natural Gas| Comments are closed

WATCH: New Mexico Residents Cheer BLM for Tackling Methane Waste

Last month the Bureau of Land Management took a much needed step to prevent the oil and gas industry from needlessly wasting American energy resources.

For oil and gas companies operating on public and tribal lands, the new standards will reduce the amount of methane that operators can leak, vent or burn into the atmosphere. These methane emissions result in massive amount of energy waste that translates to lost revenues for federal taxpayers and tribes. One recent analysis suggests that without these standards, taxpayers could lose out on more than $800 million in royalty revenue over the next decade. Read More »

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

Face the Facts: BLM Methane Rules Needed, Have Wide Bipartisan Support

It’s unfortunate that a partisan group of Congressional representatives recently tried to turn back the clock on new rules from the U.S. Bureau of Land Management that can protect taxpayers and local communities from the needless waste of our natural gas resources and methane pollution.

It was a disappointing move, considering that a bipartisan group of elected officials came together to defend the BLM’s natural gas waste rule during a budget fight on the House floor in July.

Some members of Congress are really good at expressing their opinions.  However, in this case the facts clearly show that efforts to cut waste and protect our air are necessary and warranted.

Fact: Despite some creative data cherry-picking to spin a different story, the data is clear that methane emissions from oil and gas operations have grown significantly in the past decade (up 8% since 2005). Read More »

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