Energy Exchange

Another study reveals Permian methane levels are abnormally high, reinforcing need for action

By Jon Goldstein and David Lyon

A new peer-reviewed study published today once again confirms the Permian Basin has some of the leakiest oil and gas wells in the country.

For the study, researchers with the University of Wyoming used a mobile methane laboratory to quantify emissions from 46 randomly selected well pads in New Mexico and 25 in Texas. They found those sites are emitting between 5 to 9 times more methane pollution than The Environmental Protection Agency estimates suggest.

This granular look at well pad emissions is a critical part of understanding what is causing the emissions. Earlier this year, EDF used this data to estimate total methane emissions across New Mexico and concluded the state was likely emitting up to one million metric tons of methane per year.

When combined with other measurement techniques, we can get an even clearer sense of the entire region’s methane footprint. The satellite-based TROPOMI methane instrument, as well as aerial surveys conducted through our PermianMAP project — can detect emissions from other types of oil and gas equipment.

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Also posted in Methane, Methane regulatons, Natural Gas, New Mexico, Texas / Comments are closed

California ramps up the speedometer on the electric vehicle future

By Larissa Koehler and Pamela MacDougall 

California recently made history when it committed to making every car across the state electric, with a specific goal for electrifying all operating trucks and buses by 2045. The move — along with a number of other clean vehicle initiatives — will eliminate a huge amount of climate pollution as well as other emissions that deteriorate air quality and impact public health. But what comes next?  How should the state prepare for this 100% electric vehicle future?

Rolling out more medium- and heavy-duty electric vehicles will not be possible without building out more charging infrastructure.  This is a complex process for many reasons. For one, passenger vehicles have different charging needs than larger trucks and buses.  Additionally, more vehicle charging will also lead to higher electricity demand. Finally, some communities and neighborhoods — like those situated near transit hubs or high-traffic areas — are more directly affected by diesel pollution and may need clean vehicle solutions more urgently than other places. California needs to account for all of these factors to develop a plan that maintains a clean, reliable and affordable electric grid, and delivers clean air benefits to the communities that need it most. Read More »

Also posted in California, Clean Energy, Electric Vehicles / Comments are closed

Amid federal rollbacks, new study shows stronger methane rules make economic sense for New Mexico

Over the past month, the Trump administration has pressed forward with rollbacks of federal protections from oil and gas methane pollution — a move that will result in millions of tons of additional emissions every year and endanger public health, air quality and our climate.

The loss of these protections underscores the importance of Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s commitment to nation-leading methane rules in New Mexico. Achieving the governor’s goal will require regulators to close loopholes in their proposed rules that would leave emissions from 95% of oil and gas wells across the state unchecked.

Fortunately, new economic analysis reveals that by closing these pollution loopholes the state can deliver strong, cost-effective rules that reduce pollution, safeguard air quality and deliver millions of dollars in public health benefits and increased royalties.

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Also posted in Methane, Methane regulatons, Natural Gas, New Mexico / Comments are closed

Simplifying the debate about routine flaring

There is broad and growing agreement that the practice of routinely flaring natural gas in Texas must quickly come to an end. The reason for this is obvious. Setting fire to natural gas produced at oil wells is a significant waste of resources and releases vast amounts of carbon dioxide, methane and other harmful pollution into the atmosphere.

That’s why EDF and other environmental groups, investors, elected officials, communities and even some oil and gas companies are calling on the Texas Railroad Commission to end the practice as soon as possible.

What is Routine Flaring?

Sometimes discussions about routine flaring get bogged down in details, loopholes and special circumstances. But at its core, routine flaring and the need to end it are pretty simple.

Routine flaring occurs when an operator is producing oil (or gas condensates) from a well without a use or destination for the associated natural gas that is produced.

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Also posted in Methane, Methane regulatons, Natural Gas / Comments are closed

By ending routine flaring, Colorado can once again lead the nation

Colorado doesn’t take a back seat to anyone when it comes to protecting residents from oil and gas development, and the state’s track record speaks for itself.

In 2014, Colorado became the first state to directly regulate oil and gas methane emissions. Earlier this year, the state adopted nation-leading well integrity rules to protect residents from leaks and explosions. And just last month, it became the first state in the nation to require air pollution monitoring during oft-neglected early stages of oil and gas drilling.

That’s what makes Colorado’s behind-the-times regulation of venting and flaring an outlier that the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission must address as it considers regulatory improvements later this month.

Due to outdated requirements, operators in Colorado vent and flare (simply burn off) more than $12 million worth of natural gas every year, wasting valuable resources and polluting our air.

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Also posted in Methane, Methane regulatons, Natural Gas / Comments are closed

The path to zero-emission trucks and a 100% clean energy future

By Felice Stadler

The transportation sector is at a crossroads: zero-emission trucks have the potential to cut pollution that causes climate change and harms human health. However, a transition away from diesel pollution will require strong leadership from policymakers and private sector executives alike.

That opportunity was front and center last week, when EDF hosted a Climate Week 2020 panel discussion on new initiatives that will spur electrification in the transportation sector. So, too, was the urgent need to act: The transportation sector accounts for one-quarter of global carbon dioxide emissions. And urban cargo trucks burning dirty diesel are fouling the air, causing the deaths of nearly 10,000 people annually in the U.S. alone.

Here are four major takeaways from the panel, which included representatives from Air Alliance Houston, Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management, and Ryder trucks.

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Also posted in California, Electric Vehicles, New York / Comments are closed