Energy Exchange

What ALA’s most recent State of the Air Report reveals about oil and gas air pollution in the Western U.S.

The American Lung Association released its annual State of the Air Report today, revealing what many communities have known for quite some time: air pollution from oil and gas operations is a growing concern.

Air pollution has often been a challenge for highly-populated areas of the United States, but it is an issue rural communities have largely been able to avoid. However, that seems to be changing according to the ALA’s findings.  La Plata County in Colorado and Duchesne and Uintah counties in Utah all received an “F” grade due to high levels of ozone.  None has a population over 60,000 people, but each is home to significant amounts of oil and gas production.

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Also posted in BLM Methane, Colorado, Natural Gas, New Mexico, Wyoming / Comments are closed

Tech for change video series: Sensing solutions

This post is part 5 of EDF’s Tech for Change series, which aims to spotlight the way pollution-sensing technology can protect public health and the environment in California. Watch part 4.

Pollution from oil and gas production can pose serious health risks to nearby communities. In Los Angeles, nearly 600,000 people live within ½ mile of an active oil well. That’s why a combination of smart policy and smart technology is needed to safeguard the region’s public health.

The good news is that California is already a national leader on environmental issues – and it must continue to be one as it listens to and cares for communities near urban oilfields. These communities are standing up and demanding clear air and the accurate, real-time pollution monitoring that can make it a reality.

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Also posted in California, Methane, Natural Gas / Comments are closed

Tech for change video series: Game changer

This post is part 4 of EDF’s Tech for Change series, which aims to spotlight the way pollution-sensing technology can protect public health and the environment in California. Watch parts 1, 2, and 3.

Los Angeles has long been a city defined by creativity and innovation. Now, that same spirit of innovation promises to help the region tackle the threat of pollution from the 3,500+ active oil and gas wells in LA County.

Technical advances are driving down prices and increasing the precision of pollution monitoring technology, which could enable industry and communities to understand what chemicals may be leaking from nearby oil and gas equipment. According to Elias Tobias of Safety Scan USA, “We are seeing the first wave of lower cost, real time oil and gas pollution monitors right now. Other waves will come and make it even better, faster, and cheaper.”

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Also posted in California, Methane, Natural Gas / Comments are closed

Federal rollbacks + huge new oil and gas project = trouble for Wyoming

This blog was co-authored by Jon Goldstein and Sara Brodnax

Last week, the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management collected comments from citizens and groups concerned about the impacts of a proposed 5,000-well oil and gas project in eastern Wyoming.

The situation has a troubling irony, because as BLM reviews the project’s environmental risks, it is simultaneously working to roll back its own commonsense standards to stop oil and gas companies from venting, flaring, and leaking away pollution and valuable natural gas.

It’s the same story for the greater sage-grouse, which without strong mitigation measures will likely abandon critical breeding sites in the area set to be impacted by the planned oil and gas project. Here, too, BLM has signaled several attempts to unravel the collaborative, decades-forged plans to protect the imperiled bird.

The combination of weakening policies while expanding development could have disastrous consequences for Wyoming and other western states if methane pollution goes unchecked and the greater sage-grouse continues to decline.

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Also posted in BLM Methane, Methane, Natural Gas, Wyoming / Comments are closed

Tech for change video series: Left in the dark

This is part 3 of EDF’s Tech for Change series, which aims to spotlight the way pollution-sensing technology can protect public health and the environment in California. Watch part 2 or 4.

Los Angeles sits atop the nation’s largest urban oilfield, and over 3,500 oil and gas wells are sprinkled throughout LA County. They exist in neighborhoods ranging from posh Beverly Hills to less affluent areas like Compton, but not all of these wells are created equal.

More affluent areas benefit from stronger regulations that minimize the impact of oil and gas development, but there is often much less oversight of wells that sit in lower-income neighborhoods. It’s a difference one can’t help but notice:

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Also posted in California, Methane, Natural Gas / Comments are closed

Tech for change video series: No peace of mind

This post is part 2 of EDF’s Tech for Change series, which aims to spotlight the way pollution-sensing technology can protect public health and the environment in California. Watch part 1 or 3

Oil and gas operations have existed for decades in California’s Central Valley and the greater Los Angeles area, but many people may not realize that over 3,500 active oil and gas wells dot LA County alone. These wells exist near schools, hospitals, and homes – which is cause for concern since oil and gas wells are known to emit dangerous chemicals like benzene, a known carcinogen.

So, what’s being done to ensure we have accurate, timely information about pollution coming from these oilfields? Very little. Few regulations require pollution monitoring at California’s oil and gas wells.

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Also posted in California, Methane, Natural Gas / Comments are closed