Oil and gas methane emissions in Pennsylvania. Image source: Environmental Protection Agency
Recently the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) took an important first step to implement new requirements aimed at reducing methane emissions from new oil and gas operations.
Methane is the main component of natural gas – 51% of Pennsylvania households depend on it to fuel their homes. The more methane is wasted, the less there is to deliver to the PA communities that depend on it. Read More
By Jon Goldstein and Peter Zalzal
The legal fight to defend the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) recent efforts to prevent oil and gas companies from wasting methane on public and tribal owned land continued yesterday.
EDF and a coalition of local, regional, tribal and national allies filed a brief opposing efforts by industry organizations and a handful states to block BLM’s protections before they even come into effect. Read More
Data helps prioritize gas line replacement
By Simi Rose George and Virginia Palacios
A new method of prioritizing gas infrastructure improvements is resulting in faster reductions of greenhouse gas emissions in New Jersey. Just over a year ago, we wrote about an order from the state’s Board of Public Utilities approving a settlement agreement for a $905 million, three-year pipe replacement program by PSE&G, New Jersey’s largest gas utility. This order, and the underlying settlement agreement were pioneering in one major aspect – PSE&G agreed to use environmental data to inform its infrastructure improvement efforts.
The order provided that the company would use data on leak flow rate (the speed at which methane is leaking from gas pipes) to help prioritize its local distribution pipe (“gas line”) replacement program. PSE&G is the first utility in the country to do so. The idea was that this data would be gathered by EDF as part of a collaborative project with Google Earth Outreach and Colorado State University through a survey of sections of PSE&G’s service territory targeted for gas line replacement. Read More
Money talks. That’s why one key element in the battle against climate change must be aligning the financial compensation of executives to tangible corporate efforts to decarbonize.
Better aligning incentives is particularly important in energy intensive industries, where the status quo can encourage decisions on strategy, investment, and operations that jeopardize the planet’s climate, while also generating risk to investors that can, ultimately, undercut a company’s long-term viability.
In a promising sign, Royal Dutch Shell CEO recently announced that executive bonuses at the oil and gas giant will include greenhouse gas goals. “We have linked executive remuneration in the past to energy intensity and next year we are going to make it even more specific to the CO2 footprint metrics associated with these energy efficiencies” he said. Ten percent of bonus payments to executives, including the CEO and CFO at Shell, will reportedly be linked to “greenhouse gas management”. Read More
President-Elect Trump’s selection of Oklahoma attorney general Scott Pruitt as the next head of the Environmental Protection Agency has drawn swift criticism from environmental and health advocates.
Passing the nation’s environmental agency to one of its staunchest opponents risks upending the clean air and clean water that Americans of both parties demand. And looking deeper, Pruitt’s track record suggests he will harm the American economy while increasing pollution.
Here are three ways the Pruitt choice isn’t just bad for the environment, it’s bad for business Read More
In 2012, EDF spearheaded its largest scientific pursuit to date—a collaborative 16-study effort designed to better understand how much methane is being leaked across the natural gas supply chain (and from where). In the coming months, we plan to wrap up and summarize that work, packaging all that we have learned from this undertaking and the growing body of work from other researchers.
The first study was led by the University of Texas (UT Study) and found that methane emissions from equipment leaks and pneumatic devices were larger than previously thought. The study also found that techniques to reduce emissions from hydraulically fractured well completions are effective at capturing 99% of the methane that was previously vented to the atmosphere, and provided a data-based example of EPA regulations working.
After publication of the findings from the UT Study, public debate about the results ensued, with one criticism suggesting that the UT Study underestimated emissions because of a possible malfunction of one of the instruments used for measuring emissions, the Hi Flow Sampler. Read More