By Luis Bourgeois, Public Policy Intern, Oil and Gas Program
Until recently Californians were in the dark when it came to the state’s natural gas distribution system and its pollution. But all that is changing now; for the first time ever, consistent data on the annual methane emissions from gas utilities is available for all to see. And what does this data show? California has room to reduce leaks and tighten the integrity of its gas delivery system.
A move toward better transparency
California’s recent step to boost disclosure of the amount of emissions leaked and number of repairs made to gas pipelines and other equipment is the product of Senate Bill 1371 (Leno) passed in 2014, and subsequent regulations from the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). SB 1371 took this approach because methane, the main component of natural gas, is a powerful climate pollutant that puts our environment and communities at risk with a leak-prone system across the natural gas transmission, distribution and storage sectors. Read More
By Peter Zalzal and David Lyon
With families across the country starting back to school this week, the official summer season may be gone, but the ozone season is still in full swing.
Ozone, more commonly known as “smog” is a harmful air pollutant that results in respiratory ailments like asthma and can even lead to premature death. For too many Americans, ozone pollution makes the activities that we enjoy doing outdoors in the summer difficult or even impossible. And in recent years, ozone—once a summertime phenomenon impacting mostly larger cities—now affects rural parts of the country and can persist throughout the year. In fact, rural Wyoming and Utah have experienced elevated ozone levels in the winter on par with some of the larger cities in the country. Read More
A new report reveals that harmful emissions from oil and gas development are increasing. This is bad news for Pennsylvania families who have been repeatedly told by industry trade groups that pollution is under control.
According to the Department of Environmental Protection, in 2014 oil and gas companies emitted nearly 110,000 tons of methane – a powerful climate pollutant that’s rapidly accelerating global warming. That represents an increase over the previous year. With 2016 on pace to be the warmest year ever recorded, we should be reducing methane emissions, not increasing them. Read More
The Clean Power Plan oral argument is coming up soon. On September 27, attorneys will present their arguments in front of the full U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.
EPA and the many supporters of the Clean Power Plan have already filed their written arguments – and so has the coalition of coal companies and their allies that are challenging the rule. (You can read all their submissions here.) And just yesterday, the D.C. Circuit released the final order on the argument’s format and duration.
The Clean Power Plan is America’s first-ever nationwide program to reduce carbon pollution from power plants. It sets eminently achievable carbon emission targets that phase in gradually, in line with current power sector trends, while giving states and power companies tremendous flexibility to determine how best to meet these goals.
UPDATE: Since the July 2016 publication of this original blog post, California Gov. Jerry Brown announced that he will wait until January 2017 to introduce legislation to expand California’s Independent System Operator (CAISO), which manages the state’s electric grid, beyond its borders.
The governor’s plan is good news for California and the other western states. With only a few weeks left in California’s legislative session, stakeholders were still working out remaining questions about how a western regional grid can deliver the significant benefits to the West’s economy and the environment (as shown in the SB 350 studies).
Stakeholder groups, including Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), lawmakers, and regulators covered a lot of ground this session. Working together, we identified the important issues related to successfully implementing a western regional grid that should go into legislation.
EDF strongly thanks the governor’s office and legislative leaders for the focus and time dedicated to regionalization, and looks forward to working diligently over the next few months to help develop the benefits of a regional energy market for California and its neighbors. Read More
By Andrew Strong, VP of Strategy & Business Development at LOHAS Capital
On May 16, 2016, the final piece of the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act took effect and drastically changed the investment landscape by allowing equity crowdfunding. Equity Crowdfunding is a way for a large number of individuals to invest in a startup, for as little as $100 each, in exchange for a share of the company’s value.
Four years in the making, the new rules now allow companies to raise money online by accepting investments from both accredited investors (the 2 percent of Americans worth at least $1 million, who earn more than $200,000 per year) and unaccredited investors (the 98 percent of Americans with less wealth). This new investment model could have huge implications for cleantech entrepreneurs, and everyday Americans who want to participate in the next big energy innovation.