Energy Exchange

Colorado’s landmark methane rules raise bar for federal climate action

Last month, Colorado regulators unanimously adopted nation-leading rules to cut methane pollution from pneumatic devices, an often overlooked but significant source of emissions from oil and gas production.

The commonsense standards drew support from the oil and gas industry and Colorado’s environmental community, and will require the use of modern, zero-emitting components at all new and most existing facilities statewide.  In 2019 EDF helped secure adoption of rules that require operators to find and fix malfunctioning pneumatic devices during their required leak detection and repair inspections.

As the Biden administration moves to get methane regulation back on track at the federal level, it should take note of the progress being made in Colorado. Robust federal methane regulations, identified as a priority in the president’s Jan. 20 executive order, will depend on these kinds of commonsense, high-impact solutions.

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American people speak loud and clear on Zinke’s proposal to gut the BLM methane rule

Over the past months more than 400,000 Americans weighed in on a proposal by Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke to gut the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Methane and Natural Gas Waste Prevention Rule. And more than 98 percent of the comments received urged BLM to keep the strong rule in place to force oil and gas operators to crack down on waste and pollution when profiting from the public’s natural resources. Now that’s a landslide!

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What ALA’s most recent State of the Air Report reveals about oil and gas air pollution in the Western U.S.

The American Lung Association released its annual State of the Air Report today, revealing what many communities have known for quite some time: air pollution from oil and gas operations is a growing concern.

Air pollution has often been a challenge for highly-populated areas of the United States, but it is an issue rural communities have largely been able to avoid. However, that seems to be changing according to the ALA’s findings.  La Plata County in Colorado and Duchesne and Uintah counties in Utah all received an “F” grade due to high levels of ozone.  None has a population over 60,000 people, but each is home to significant amounts of oil and gas production.

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Posted in Air Quality, BLM Methane, Colorado, Natural Gas, New Mexico, Wyoming / Language: / Comments are closed

North Dakota has a flaring problem that even industry recognizes

Last year, oil and gas companies in North Dakota flared over $220 million worth of natural gas. That’s enough to heat over 1 million homes and meet North Dakotans’ heating needs seven times over.* It was also enough to convince the North Dakota Petroleum Council (NDPC), an industry coalition, to reconvene its flaring task force.

The irony is that North Dakota already has flaring reduction targets on the books. They were created in 2014, at a time when the state was wasting one-third of the natural gas it produced. These rules set a series of gas capture targets, which were proposed by NDPC, and gave the state the authority to curtail the oil production of operators that failed to meet those targets. But since the rule’s implementation, North Dakota operators have allowed nearly $850 million of natural gas to go up in smoke.*

So why aren’t North Dakota’s flaring restrictions consistently working?

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All pain, no gain: BLM methane rule rollback hurts Westerners, helps no one

The rhetoric of President Trump and Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke might suggest they care about maximizing America’s abundant natural resources. However, their actions repeatedly prove the opposite.

Every day roughly one million dollars’ worth of American natural gas is lost from taxpayer-owned lands through flaring, intentional releases, and leaks. After first temporarily suspending measures to cut this waste, the Department of the Interior earlier this week proposed ‘replacing’ them with a measure that will turn the clock back to the 30-year-old rigged system that allows operators to waste this public resource with virtual impunity.

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The BLM rule should be in effect – what happened and what’s next?

January 17th should have been a positive milestone for Westerners and all Americans as limits on the unnecessary waste of American taxpayer-owned natural gas were slated to go into effect. Instead, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke, who has repeatedly shown that the least responsible companies in the oil and gas industry have his ear, has suspended this rule and greenlit the waste of millions of taxpayer dollars that could have gone to infrastructure, roads, education, and more.

The careless act is part of a pattern from Secretary Zinke and the Trump administration of misusing taxpayer resources and cozying up to the most egregious polluters. Even worse, the administration defended its efforts to remove the “burden” of involving the public in decision-making on public lands in a House Natural Resources Subcommittee hearing.

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