Energy Exchange

Overwhelming public support paves way for stronger oil and gas pollution rules in New Mexico

Over the past two weeks the New Mexico Environmental Improvement Board heard from a variety of New Mexicans as they considered newly proposed rules to limit oil and gas air pollution in New Mexico. What was striking over the 10 long days of testimony is just how broad and deep the support for a suite of improved rules is across the state.

While the board must still deliberate and finalize the rules (expected to happen early this coming spring) it is evident after the hearing that there is a clear, well-supported path to finalizing rules that protect the air and health of New Mexicans and that meet Gov. Lujan Grisham’s goal of setting nationally leading requirements to reduce harmful pollution from the oil and gas industry.

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

A new way to track truck pollution

By Timothy O’Connor and Aileen Nowlan

SunPower, a solar power and energy services provider, is starting to ship solar panels in electric heavy-duty trucks powered by — you guessed it — solar energy. The question that communities and investors are starting to ask is, why isn’t everybody?

How long can a company go without a plan to end goods transport powered by fossil fuels, and what are the health and climate consequences of the status quo?

Despite making up only about 4% of the vehicles on the road, diesel trucks are responsible for over half the smog-forming pollution from the transportation sector and a quarter of the climate emissions. This pollution is projected to grow, as demand for freight moved by trucks is on track to increase about 25% by 2030.

The local impact of this pollution is significant. Recent studies in places such as Oakland, California and Houston — two regions with large port operations and associated goods movement equipment located in or near environmental justice communities — have proven that diesel truck pollution leads to increases in childhood asthma rates and lower life expectancies in frontline communities.

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4 actions fleets must take to be sustainability leaders today

Electric trucks provide an opportunity for organizations with fleets to fundamentally transform the environmental impact of their operations. But rather than the incremental progress of better pollution control equipment and improved fuel efficiency we’ve seen play out over the past two decades, the technical innovation in electric vehicles over the past few years has been brisk.

For example, recent EDF analysis demonstrates that well over 125 fleets are either running zero-emission trucks today or have them on order. Manufacturers, meanwhile, are investing billions in the technology and bringing new models to the market at a breathtaking pace.

The rapidity of change in this space can make it challenging for fleets to calibrate their ambition. And yet, the current decade is critical to put the medium and heavy-duty vehicle sector on a path toward a clean energy future. Here are four actions fleets must take to be sustainability leaders today:

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3 things to watch as New Mexico begins hearing on new oil and gas air pollution rules

Under Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, New Mexico has made oil and gas air pollution and methane reductions a focus of regulatory improvements, restoring enforcement teeth to the governor’s Oil Conservation Division and finalizing a strong methane waste rule that bans routine venting and flaring earlier this year.

These critical policy efforts will reach a climax starting Monday, Sept. 20, as the state’s Environmental Improvement Board considers landmark new rules proposed by the New Mexico Environment Department that have the potential to dramatically cut pollution from the oil and gas industry, clean up the air and protect the health of local communities.

Here are three things to watch as the EIB hearings unfold.

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Houston Metro and Mayor Turner show climate leadership with fleet electrification commitment

Last month Houston Metro voted to shift to purchasing only zero-emission buses by 2030 — the same year the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has set as a deadline to cut the world’s emissions in half. Both decisions are driven by the same goal: a healthier, safer and cleaner world for our kids. As the largest transit authority in Texas, with one of the nation’s largest fleets, Metro’s bold decision is to be applauded.

The move to procure a zero-emission fleet is a necessary one in the self-proclaimed “energy capital of the world,” which has dealt annually with the harm from a warming climate and extreme weather events — the unprecedented flooding of Hurricane Harvey and the fatal crippling of the unprepared power grid by the hard winter storm. In the face of a hotter world, we cannot just turn our air-conditioners up.

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Also posted in Electric Vehicles, Texas / Language: / Comments are closed

What to look for as EPA readies landmark methane rules

EPA is preparing to release proposed rules to cut oil and gas methane pollution from both new and existing facilities — one of the most critical and cost-effective actions we can take to immediately slow the rate of global warming and avoid the worst impacts of climate change.

Recognizing the importance of this opportunity, yesterday, over 70 community, health, tribal and environmental organizations sent EPA a letter expressing strong support for its efforts to develop methane pollution safeguards and urging the agency to propose protective and comprehensive standards for new and existing sources.

By leveraging advanced technologies and ensuring meaningful coverage, the rules can secure the substantial, science-based pollution reductions needed to help address the climate crisis and to ensure healthy communities.

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