What do Farmington, NM, Oklahoma City, Lakewood, CO and Dickinson, ND have in common? These cities are in the heart of oil and gas country, and – most importantly – were locations in which the BLM heard overwhelming support for strong efforts to reduce wasteful venting, flaring and leaks from the oil and gas industry at a series of public meetings in recent weeks.
Methane is a potent climate pollutant and the main constituent of natural gas, so when oil and gas companies on public land allow methane to be leaked, burned or vented to the atmosphere, it not only impacts air quality and our climate, it also represents an economic loss to taxpayers.
Individually at each hearing, and collectively across all four, voices supporting strong BLM methane waste and pollution rules far outweighed the opposition. In the final tally, supportive statements outnumbered negative ones by more than three-to-one. This fits with recent polling that found that a bipartisan majority (fully 80 percent) of Westerners support commonsense rules to cut oil and gas waste on BLM managed lands. Read More
It was a big week in Canada-US relations. For the first time in 19 years, the White House hosted the Canadian Prime Minister for a state dinner. And for good measure, President Obama and Prime Minister Trudeau announced a renewed collaboration to combat climate change starting with methane, one of the most potent greenhouse gases.
Under the pact, the United States and Canada committed to reduce oil and gas methane gas emissions by 40-45 percent below 2012 levels by 2025. Both countries also said the goal would be met by developing regulations for existing sources as well as new ones – a crucial concern – and challenged other countries to adopt similarly aggressive oil and gas methane goals.
This new level of cooperation will deliver significant progress for both Canada and the United States toward achieving their emissions reduction commitments set at the Paris climate talks held this past December. Read More
Also posted in General, Methane
Yesterday, British Columbia’s Premier Christy Clark announced that the province will align with Alberta’s groundbreaking new policies on reducing emissions of the potent greenhouse gas methane from the oil and gas industry. Alberta had announced in November a goal of cutting oil and gas methane emissions 45 percent by 2025, and BC’s new commitment is just one more sign that there is growing momentum in Canada to tackle this powerful climate pollutant.
By David Lyon and Adam Peltz
There are at more than 1.5 million inactive oil and gas wells in the U.S. that remain uncapped and, in some cases, unsafe. Some are temporarily dormant, while others are fully depleted but not yet properly sealed, continuing to emit residual pollution from the days when they were active. Many are what the industry calls “orphans,” with no financially solvent owner in sight to take the responsibility for them. Long seen as a water protection issue, a new study in the journal Geophysical Research Letters now shows that properly plugging unused wells can also reduce emissions of the potent greenhouse gas methane.
The study looks at orphaned and plugged wells in four oil and gas producing regions of the country – Colorado’s Denver-Julesburg Basin; Ohio’s Appalachian Basin; Wyoming’s Powder River Basin; and Utah’s Uinta Basin. It is part of a series of 16 major studies organized by Environmental Defense Fund to better understand the scale and scope of oil and gas methane emissions. Read More
Also posted in General, Methane
A paper today in the journal Science, estimating emissions from the massive methane leak at Aliso Canyon, indicates that nearly 100,000 metric tons of methane escaped into the atmosphere over Southern California – more than previous estimates. The new findings come days after the Environmental Protection Agency released draft results of their updated accounting of methane emissions from the nation’s oil and gas supply chain that shows that emissions are up 27% above the agency’s early estimate.
The more we know about methane emissions, the higher they get. The new findings show not just the massive scale of the oil and gas industry’s methane problem, but also how critical it is to get the science right to both understand this source of a potent climate pollutant and reduce it. We know that cutting methane is one of the fastest, most cost effective ways to curb today’s warming, and when combined with critical efforts to reduce carbon dioxide pollution, substantial climate progress can be made. Read More
After more than four months of spewing potent methane pollution, the massive Aliso Canyon gas leak has finally been plugged. But now the state of California and the utility that owns the site, SoCalGas, are left with the responsibility of ensuring a disaster like this doesn’t happen again.
While Aliso Canyon has captured the attention of the nation, it’s important to remember that there are smaller—and far more prevalent—leaks happening throughout the country’s oil and gas supply chain every day. In fact, those emissions add up to more than 7 million metric tons of methane pollution every year. That equals over $1 billion worth of wasted natural gas at 2015 prices. Read More