Energy Exchange

Report reveals heavy burden of energy waste, methane emissions on Navajo communities

By Matt Miccioli, EDF Stanford Schneider Fellow

A recent study of oil and gas methane emissions on the Navajo Nation reveals companies operating on tribal lands pollute 65 percent more than the national average, wasting millions in tribal resources every year and underscoring the opportunity for tribal leaders to reduce emissions.

The analysis, conducted by Environmental Defense Fund and released in conjunction with Grand Canyon Trust, Dinè CARE and Native American Voters Alliance, quantifies the volume of natural gas burned off, vented or leaked from oil and gas production on Navajo lands. It found that companies are wasting about 5.2 percent of their natural gas, generating about 13,000 tons of methane pollution.

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Also posted in Air Quality, Methane, Methane regulatons, Natural Gas, New Mexico / Tagged , , | Comments are closed

The oil industry’s wastewater is one of the biggest challenges facing Permian producers

This post originally appeared in the Midland Reporter Telegram. 

Nowhere is the current energy boom more apparent than in Midland, Texas. But with this dramatic growth in oil and gas also comes a growing amount of wastewater. Texas oil and gas companies alone produce over 300 billion gallons of wastewater a year, twice as much as any other state, and that volume is expected to increase. This is no ordinary water. In addition to the chemicals used in the hydraulic fracturing process, it can contain radioactive materials and a number of naturally occurring pollutants – including high concentrations of salt that can kill plants and ruin soil for decades if not handled properly.

Most of the time, companies dispose of wastewater by reinjecting it deep underground. This is a cost-effective and largely environmentally sound solution. However, there is growing concern that this option may be less available or more costly in coming years due to a range of challenges from earthquakes to capacity. This, paired with growing demands for water, particularly in drought-stricken regions, is driving companies and policymakers to look at new options for disposing or reusing industry’s wastewater.

These newer options – while promising – are not without their own sets of risks. Read More »

Also posted in Natural Gas, produced water, Texas / Comments are closed

Dynegy wants to re-write the rules on pollution and pass the buck to its customers

For the last several years, Illinois’ largest coal-fired electricity generator has sought ways to saddle customers with the cost – and pollution – of propping up its old, dirty coal plants.

One of Dynegy’s tactics is to re-write pollution regulations and boost profits. At a public hearing next week, Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) and our partners will argue against the rule change and for cleaner, more affordable electricity.

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Posted in General / Read 4 Responses

EPA-New Mexico wastewater report is a conversation starter, not the final word

This blog was co-authored by Colin Leyden and Nichole Saunders

The Environmental Protection Agency and the outgoing Martinez administration in New Mexico have produced a draft white paper and solicited comments on potential ways to reuse or manage the growing volume of wastewater produced by the state’s oil and gas industry.

While the paper is a helpful outline of current produced water policy, New Mexico decision-makers should view it as a conversation starter and not the final word. When it comes to answering questions about whether the oil and gas industry’s wastewater can be safely reused for other purposes, like food crops, livestock or, as the white paper even suggests, drinking water, there are a number of other serious factors to be considered.

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Also posted in Natural Gas, New Mexico, produced water, produced water, Water / Tagged , , , | Comments are closed

Private equity has opportunity to step up on methane, says Harvard Management Company

Earlier this year, we had the opportunity to sit down with Michael Cappucci, Senior Vice President of Compliance and Sustainable Investing at Harvard Management Company (HMC). In a recent blog post, Michael shared his outlook on the methane opportunity for oil and gas companies, along with his opinion on the pace of change within the industry.

Below is the second part of our conversation, where Michael offers new insights on investor ESG engagement and its correlation to portfolio performance. He also talks about private equity’s somewhat quiet stance on methane, and the sector’s potential to bring about change among mid-size operators that have yet to tackle methane emissions.

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

Grinch utilities and regulators spoil holidays by forcing customers to pay billions for Midwest coal plants

Thanks to Midwest utilities, regulators and a pair of unprofitable power plants, electricity customers in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana will get a lump of coal this holiday season. The owners keep running these plants at a big loss – projected at over $5 billion – resulting in higher electricity prices and polluting power that isn’t needed.

A challenging setup

As part of the Ohio Valley Electric Corporation (OVEC), the two plants sit in southern Ohio and Indiana. Nearly 65 years old, these plants were built to power a plant in Piketon, Ohio that enriched uranium for nuclear weapons for the Cold War. The uranium facility ceased operations in 2001, but the power plants continue on.

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Also posted in FirstEnergy, Ohio / Comments are closed