Energy Exchange

No time to waste: What lies ahead in New Mexico on methane policy?

The Cabinet Room was buzzing with (clean) energy on Tuesday as New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham was joined by her Energy Minerals and Natural Resources (EMNRD) Secretary Sarah Cottrell Propst and Environment Secretary Jim Kenney to sign one of the strongest climate executive orders in the nation.

Crucially, the order also directs New Mexico’s state agencies to move expeditiously and develop comprehensive, statewide methane regulations to cut energy wasted from the oil and gas industry and improve air quality.

Now the question becomes, “what next?”

Governor Lujan Grisham made her wishes for a speedy methane rule development clear in the executive order, directing her EMNRD and Environment Department to enact rules “as soon as practicable.”
And she set a high bar for the strength and inclusiveness of the methane rules when she said that, “Our goal is to eclipse states that are successfully doing this work.”

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Conservative Wyoming rises to the occasion as feds roll over on oil and gas pollution

Lost amid the wrapping paper this holiday season was a very important move in Wyoming to step up and better regulate air pollution from the state’s oil and gas wells. It was one more reason to pop some champagne corks as we rang in the New Year.

Without much fanfare on Dec. 27, Wyoming finalized new requirements that will mean significant reductions in oil and gas air pollution – including methane – statewide. These newly finalized rules require oil and gas producers to regularly check new and modified oil and gas wells and associated infrastructure for leaks, an improvement that EDF and partners like the Wyoming Outdoor Council have been advocating for several years.

And beyond the holidays, the timing of this move could not be better. That is because while Wyoming is requiring twice-yearly leak inspections at new and modified well sites statewide, the Trump administration’s EPA is working to significantly weaken these same leak inspection requirements at the federal level.

The message here is clear: sensible requirements to regularly find and fix leaks make sense in conservative Wyoming, and they should all across the U.S.

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Posted in Air Quality, Methane, Natural Gas, Wyoming / Comments are closed

In New Mexico’s Permian, federal plans mean more methane waste unless state steps up

As the landlord for a vast area of public land in Southeast New Mexico, one of the federal Bureau of Land Management’s primary responsibilities is to ensure the resources in that area are wisely managed to benefit the people of New Mexico. Why then is that agency moving forward on a plan that would waste millions of dollars’ worth of natural gas resources every year?

That is one of the primary questions posed today as a broad coalition of conservation and environmental groups filed comments with the BLM on their draft Resource Management Plan (RMP) for the area surrounding Carlsbad. Once finalized, this RMP will help guide BLM’s management decisions for 6.2 million acres over the next two decades.

Unfortunately, this RMP contains no methane waste provisions to reduce things like leaks from oil and gas operations.

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Cowboy up: Wyoming’s new oil and gas proposal helps state lead on air quality

Wyoming is not a state that likes to take a backseat to anybody, especially when it comes to setting energy policy. That’s why it’s no surprise the state recently proposed new standards to reduce harmful, wasteful emissions from the state’s oil and gas facilities.

The requirements in the state’s new proposal are an extension of a successful emission-reduction program implemented in 2015 to improve air quality in western Wyoming, where unchecked oil and gas development led to unhealthy pollution levels.

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Posted in Air Quality, Methane, Natural Gas, Wyoming / Comments are closed

Bipartisan western governors agree methane reductions benefit states

Yesterday the Western Governors Association, a bipartisan organization representing the Governors of the 19 western states, announced a policy resolution recognizing the importance and economic benefits of efforts to cut methane pollution from oil and gas facilities – the nation’s largest industrial source of methane.

The resolution states:

There are environmental and economic benefits of reducing methane emissions and opportunities for the beneficial use of this natural resource. Many western states – in cooperation with industry in those states – have already implemented regulatory strategies that reduce methane emissions from oil and gas operations, while expanding the use and sale of methane.

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Posted in California, Colorado, General, Methane, Natural Gas, New Mexico, State, Texas, Wyoming / Comments are closed

Huge new Utah oil and gas project could have serious impacts on air quality

A proposal under review at the Bureau of Land Management to bring thousands more oil and gas wells to a region of Utah already struggling with unhealthy air could cause more pollution and more waste.

The Greater Chapita Wells Project Area is slated to bring nearly 3,000 new wells to the state’s Uintah basin – an area the Environmental Protection Agency recently designated as having harmful levels of ozone.

Ozone, commonly known as smog, can trigger asthma attacks and other health concerns. Recent research suggests emissions from oil and gas facilities are the leading cause of the region’s ozone pollution problem.

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