Energy Exchange

Congress should restore critical methane pollution standards

By Rosalie Winn and Raisa Orleans

EDF Legal Fellow Edwin LaMair contributed to this post.

Lawmakers last week introduced joint resolutions under the Congressional Review Act to restore widely-supported methane pollution protections and allow the Environmental Protection Agency to move forward swiftly with ambitious next-generation standards for new and existing oil and gas facilities. The move has received broad support from environmental groups and at least one industry trade group.

The resolutions have widespread support among both House and Senate leadership and will be fast-tracked in the coming weeks.

EPA first adopted the standards in 2016 to reduce the oil and gas industry’s pollution of methane — a potent greenhouse gas and the primary component of natural gas — along with other smog-forming and hazardous local air pollution.

Methane is responsible for a quarter of the warming that we are experiencing today, and the oil and gas industry is the largest industrial source of methane pollution in the U.S. Local health-harming pollution from the industry impacts more than 9 million Americans who live on the frontlines of oil and gas development. Read More »

Also posted in Methane, Methane regulatons / Comments are closed

A clear path to protecting Texas from the next weather crisis

By Colin Leyden and John Hall

The aftermath of the storm we just endured will linger a lot longer than the average Texas winter.

At least 80 people died. Millions of families lost power and water service as broad swaths of our critical infrastructure froze up. Families, businesses and cities are still tallying the damage, but this crisis could surpass Hurricane Harvey’s $125 billion price tag and become the most expensive natural disaster in Texas history. Our most vulnerable communities were hit hardest by outages, and, in a cruel twist, some Texans (many of whom lost service during the crisis) are facing exorbitant electric bills because of disaster-induced market volatility.

This week, Texas began to pick up the pieces, identify what went wrong, and develop a plan to protect our citizens from extreme weather crises in the future.

Texans are mad, and we deserve to be. Preparation could have avoided this disaster. Texas leaders knew what to do, and they didn’t do it.

Texans deserve a comprehensive analysis of what happened, why it happened, and what state leaders and energy industry participants will do to ensure it never happens again. Read More »

Also posted in Energy Efficiency, Energy Equity, State, Texas / Comments are closed

Climate, capital and COVID: What’s an energy executive to do?

Mark Brownstein co-authored this post.

We’re hearing more oil and gas companies pledging to reinvent themselves for a new, low carbon energy era. This conversation is unfolding as those same companies grapple with massive impacts of the global pandemic, as well as competitive challenges from cleaner, often cheaper alternatives that had been gaining steam well before the current crisis.

So how can investors and other stakeholders tell which companies are genuinely rising to the occasion? Each producer is going to have to find its own way to navigate the profound transformation of their industry and still make money doing it. But we think there are four key elements (below) that every company must engage to compete in this decade and beyond.

Read More »

Posted in General / Comments are closed

Pennsylvania bill gives conventional drillers pass to cut corners, lets communities pay the price

In recent years, Pennsylvania has become an epicenter of the nation’s hydraulic fracturing boom. But even as production from “unconventional” wells – those using horizontal drilling and fracking – has grown, nearly 90% of the state’s 120,000 active wells are older, “conventional” vertical ones that typically rely on traditional drilling methods.

What does that mean for Pennsylvanians? Quite simply, it means that smart, commonsense policies for conventional wells matter. A lot.

However, the state legislature is considering SB 790, which could unravel well-established oil and gas protections while shifting many costs associated with conventional production to taxpayers. As the bill makes its way through the legislature, here are some key facts to keep in mind:

Read More »

Also posted in Natural Gas, Pennsylvania / Tagged , , , | Comments are closed

New Permian data show how worst offenders prevent progress on flaring

Texas’ Permian Basin isn’t just the site of the world’s biggest oil boom. It’s also the source of one of the country’s most unnecessary wastes of energy and associated air pollution. The burning off (flaring) and intentional release (venting) of natural gas has proven to be a black eye Permian producers can’t shake. A previous EDF analysis of 2014-2015 data found that operators in the Permian Basin flared and wasted more than 45 Bcf of natural gas in 2015 alone, enough to serve all 400,000 households in Texas Permian counties for two and a half years.

Production since then has boomed, and the Permian’s flaring problem has too. The burning off of associated gas is predicted to only get worse through 2019, and analysts predict the entire Permian Basin could flare as much as 1 Bcf a day in the coming year. That’s nearly four times the amount of gas produced by the Gulf of Mexico’s most productive gas facility.

EDF has recently analyzed the 2018 flaring data released by the Railroad Commission of Texas, the state’s oil and gas regulator, and beyond illustrating the scale of the problem – operators burned enough gas to serve all the heating and cooking needs of the state’s seven largest cities – the numbers tell us two main things:

Read More »

Posted in General / Comments are closed

Critic misstates EDF views on New York/New Jersey pipeline, overlooks larger climate win

Industrial pipelineA blogger has made the false allegation that Environmental Defense Fund is advocating for the construction of a proposed natural gas pipeline under New York harbor.

This is simply wrong. EDF is not advocating for the pipeline in question, known as the Williams NESE pipeline. We made that point clear two weeks ago in a blog of our own. The blogger, Rob Galbraith, simply ignores this.

A first-ever look at climate impacts

Mr. Galbraith is responding to a study prepared by consultants M.J. Bradley & Associates, who were hired by the utility National Grid to assess the climate impacts of the pipeline over time. Read More »

Posted in General / Comments are closed