Over the last two weeks, EPA has held a series of hearings across the country to collect public testimony in response to its new proposal to curb oil and gas companies’ emissions of the potent greenhouse gas methane. The hearings provided a chance for stakeholders in areas where the oil and gas industry has a significant footprint – Dallas, Denver and Pittsburgh – to voice their concerns and perspectives. Lawmakers, business leaders, health professionals, and other community members arrived at the hearings by the hundreds to show support for actions that can stop wasteful drilling practices, improve air quality, and slow climate change.
Out of Denver, Colorado State Representative Joseph Salazar told the EPA he supported efforts to regulate methane pollution simply because “I want to make sure my children have clean air to breathe and clean water to drink.”
His remarks were echoed by Christine Berg, mayor of Lafayette, Colorado: “Ask yourselves, shouldn’t all people, no matter where they live, have equal access to clean air?” Read More
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Around the country, people are talking about methane. Last week hundreds showed up to testify at public hearings in Dallas and Denver, weighing in on the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposal to fight oil and gas methane pollution.
Tomorrow, EPA will hear from many more stakeholders in Pittsburgh, while a panel of experts that EDF is convening in Washington, DC, will discuss how we can cost-effectively reduce methane pollution using technologies already on the market.
The public hearings have largely reflected the concerns of local communities impacted by oil and gas industry air pollution. This is important as an overwhelming majority of voters support EPA’s proposal and view new rules as reasonable and necessary. This is hardly a surprise considering the oil and gas industry wastes over 7 million tons of methane pollution into the air every year, representing enough gas to heat 5 million homes and $1.2 billion dollars (at current prices) that could otherwise help boost our local economies. This tonnage of methane leakage also packs the same short-term warming power as 160 coal-fired power plants each year.
Though the energy waste and pollution is enormous, cutting methane emissions is not an insurmountable problem. That’s what you can expect to hear from tomorrow’s discussion hosted by The Hill titled, “Powering the Economy: A Discussion on Natural Gas, Methane Policy, and American Business.” Read More
Also posted in Natural Gas
A new Massachusetts law requiring gas utilities to annually report the location and age of known gas leaks has, for the first time, enabled the mapping of gas leaks from natural gas distribution pipelines across the state. This effort parallels EDF’s methane mapping project, as part of which it is publishing maps of methane leaks from utility pipes in various U.S. cities, highlighting the scale of the problem and the need for thoughtful utility and regulatory responses.
The issue is multidimensional. Gas leaks have both environmental and economic consequences, in addition to public safety implications. Most states only require utilities to address leaks that pose a present or future public safety threat. Other leaks can and do continue unabated for years, wasting gas and imposing an undue economic burden on ratepayers. The environmental implications are also serious. Methane, which is the primary constituent of natural gas, is a greenhouse gas, 84 times more potent than carbon dioxide over a 20-year timeframe. Read More
Since the president announced in January a national goal of reducing methane emissions from the oil and gas industry nearly in half by 2025, an outpouring of voices has supported the move. Now, EPA has proposed rules to help meet that target, and we’ve seen another wave of support – everyone from editorial boards in the heart of oil and gas country to massive investors like California’s pension funds has recognized that the rules are a manageable, commonsense means for reducing methane pollution.
The one voice that’s been silent? The companies with the opportunity to adopt the proven, cost-effective technologies and services to not only reduce pollution but also prevent the waste of the very energy resource they’re producing. Now another voice has emerged to make the case directly to these companies that it’s worth constructively engaging in the rulemaking process: the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR), a group of shareholders dedicated to promoting environmentally and socially responsible corporate practices. Read More
Last month, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed the first-ever nationwide standards to reduce methane pollution from the oil and gas industry. It’s a common sense move: With its potent global warming power and low-cost solutions, cutting methane is the biggest bargain for greenhouse gas reductions in the energy business.
The array of supporters speaking out in favor of the proposal underscores just how smart, practical and doable EPA’s move is. Applause has come from voices as diverse as citizens impacted by oil and gas development and investors to government leaders in the heart of oil and gas country.
Here’s just a sample of the voices we’ve heard over the past two weeks:
Communities in the Crosshairs
Methane is a potent climate forcer, but it also carries with it serious health impacts because it’s emitted alongside toxic and smog-forming pollutants. Read More
Also posted in Natural Gas
Politicians and political observers are increasing the amount of time spent trying to figure out how to engage with Latino voters – a large and growing part of the American electorate. Issues such as immigration reform usually dominate the discussion nationally, but a new poll from the national polling firm Latino Decisions shows that clean water and healthy air are also of utmost importance for Latinos.
According to their poll 85% of those surveyed found reducing smog and air pollution to be extremely or very important, compared to 80 percent for comprehensive immigration reform.
This comes as no surprise to those of us that are rooted in this community where issues of the health of our communities and families are often top-of-mind around the dinner table. In reality, it also comes as no surprise to decision makers who have listened to our communities, and know Latinos have rich ties to the outdoors, but are too often the first and worst impacted by pollution. Read More
Also posted in Air Quality, California, Clean Energy, Clean Power Plan, Climate, Colorado, Natural Gas Tagged air quality, California, Clean Air, Clean Power Plan, Colorado, diversity, Latinos, Methane, Natural Gas, New Mexico