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 »

Posted in General, Methane, Natural Gas| Comments are closed

Ohio explores perspectives, opportunities for modernizing the electric grid

Asim Haque, chairman of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio.

This post was updated on June 20, 2017.

Just think about the number of interactions we have with electricity each day – from our alarm clocks to our toasters to our smart phones and the lights in our homes and offices.

Electricity is undeniably important to our lives and our economy. And unprecedented energy innovation has created the opportunity to build a smarter, cleaner, and more modern electric grid. But modernizing the grid won’t happen on its own.

That’s why The Nature Conservancy and Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) convened about a hundred participants for a grid modernization conference last week in Columbus, Ohio. People came together to discuss challenges with our aging and frayed grid as well as opportunities presented by modern sensors and smart meters. Although participants brought different perspectives, everyone agreed now is a critical, opportune time to upgrade our aging electric grid.  Read More »

Posted in Grid Modernization, Ohio| Read 1 Response

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 »

Posted in BLM Methane, General, Methane, Natural Gas| 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 »

Posted in General, Methane, Natural Gas| Comments are closed

Rick Perry just got scooped: New report shows cleaner grid provides reliable power

As Secretary of Energy, Rick Perry set out to examine the impact of policies or regulations on coal and nuclear plants.

He wasn’t the only one. A new report from the Analysis Group, commissioned by national business groups Advanced Energy Economy (AEE) and American Wind Energy Association, finds market forces are pushing old coal and nuclear plants to retire, without posing any threat to the electric grid’s reliability. In other words, coal can’t compete in today’s market, and the United States is getting a cleaner, more diverse, and reliable energy mix as a result.

Market forces

The American energy system is undergoing a transformation, with more – and cleaner – power options than ever before.

The primary driver of change? Market forces. In efficient and competitive markets, it’s natural for uneconomic assets (cough, coal) to be pushed out. Read More »

Posted in Clean Energy| Tagged | Read 1 Response

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 »

Posted in Natural Gas, produced water, Texas, Water| Comments are closed
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