Selected category: Natural Gas

Questions in EPA Inspector General letter are narrow, have been asked and answered before

The questions the EPA Inspector General appears to be interested in are ones that have been widely and publicly addressed over the past three years, including in peer-reviewed scientific literature. For reference, see our blog posts from here (December 9, 2016), here (June 9, 2016), and here (March 9, 2015).

The most important thing to understand is that there is an extensive body of scientific research, including substantial research produced just over the last four years documenting the significant problem of methane emissions from the oil and gas sector, of which the two studies cited in the IG letter are just a small part. Together, this body of research presents a clear and compelling picture of the magnitude of the methane emissions problem in the U.S. and the urgent need for action to address it.

For example, EDF has helped coordinate 16 different research projects looking at emissions from on the ground and in the air. So far 33 peer-reviewed papers have been published on those projects. More than 35 different research institutions and over 120 individual co-authors have been involved in the work published to date. Read More »

Also posted in General, Methane| Comments are closed

When Trump’s agencies undermine small businesses supporting responsible energy

Every physician would tell you that regular check-ups are important for your health, to catch problems before they become big issues, and to let you know that everything is in working order. Regular check-ups are also important for the oil and natural gas industry, whose leading actors benefit from periodic site inspections for natural gas leaks, which let product go to waste and pollute the air our families breathe.

Unfortunately, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt slammed the brakes on these regular check-ups for methane emissions (the main component of natural gas), when EPA announced its intention to freeze for two years safeguards that include a national standard for twice annual leak detection inspections at new well pads. And mere hours later, the Bureau of Land Management suspended waste prevention standards on federal and tribal lands. While these actions might initially be popular among some in the oil & gas community in Texas, the long-term repercussions will be severe.

With commodity prices recovering and a wave of development expected in the Permian Basin, the leak detection requirements were to take effect in time to support responsible development of new resources. Read More »

Also posted in BLM Methane, General, Methane| Comments are closed

Two fundamental EPA climate programs survive EPA cuts, but budget still required to track and mitigate U.S. emissions

The federal administration’s proposed budget cuts to the EPA are devastating. Nearly all climate-related programs are proposed to be cut or greatly reduced, including the popular ENERGY STAR program.

Yet two critical climate EPA programs have maintained partial funding in the current proposal – the Greenhouse Gas Inventory (GHGI) and Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program (GHGRP).  These programs provide critical reports each year outlining U.S. man-made greenhouse emissions across the country. These informative reports are vital to the energy sector and our regional climate initiatives and must be preserved by this and future federal administrations.

If we are not measuring and tracking our annual output of greenhouse gases, our ability to verifiably reduce our emissions becomes severely impaired. Our country – along with public and industry stakeholders across the work –needs access to this U.S. data each year in order to understand patterns and trends in greenhouse gas emissions.  Transparent reporting of GHG data can help hold emitters publicly accountable and facilitate emission reductions. Read More »

Also posted in General, Methane| Comments are closed

Report identifies ways to reduce water contamination from oil and gas development in Texas

A new report from the Academy of Medicine, Engineering and Science of Texas (TAMEST) is shedding more light on what we know and don’t know about the potential health and environmental impacts caused by oil and gas development in Texas.

The report, the first of-its-kind authored by experts across the state, looks at all areas of concern related to oil and gas – including seismicity, air pollution, land and traffic issues  – but TAMEST’s observations about the risks to water are especially noteworthy.

Read More »

Also posted in Texas, Water| 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 »

Also posted in Air Quality, Climate, Methane| Comments are closed

Fayetteville flyover study sheds valuable light on the role of regional episodic emissions

Five years ago, EDF initiated a series of 16 peer-reviewed scientific studies involving over 100 research and industry experts in order to better quantify the methane emissions coming from the U.S. oil and gas industry and to better understand where and how to focus efforts to reduce them. Since then, over 30 peer-reviewed papers have been published across a number of scientific journals, with the data indicating that emissions from the industry are generally higher than official U.S. estimates.

However, quantifying methane wasn’t our only goal. We also sought to catalyze a community of researchers — both inside and outside academia — to continue this work, because there is still much more we can learn about how to effectively reduce this powerful climate pollutant.  So I was pleased to see the publication of a new independent study that evaluates methane emissions from natural gas infrastructure in the Fayetteville Shale region of Arkansas. Read More »

Also posted in Methane| Comments are closed
  • About this Blog

    EDF Energy Exchange - Accelerating the clean energy revolution

    EDF's energy experts discuss how to accelerate the transition to a clean, low-carbon energy economy.

    Follow EDFEnergyEX

  • Get new posts by email

    We'll deliver new blog posts to your inbox.

    Subscribe via RSS

  • Categories

  • Authors