Energy Exchange

EPA advances methane waste charge to help cut oil and gas pollution

Last week, EPA proposed details for how it will administer Congress’s methane waste emissions charge for excessive oil and gas pollution, passed as part of the Inflation Reduction Act’s Methane Emissions Reduction Program in 2022.  

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Also posted in Flaring, Methane / Authors: , / Comments are closed

Unpacking EPA’s final methane protections

Last week, EPA Administrator Regan announced final standards to cut methane and harmful local air pollution from both new and existing facilities in the oil and gas industry.  

Diverse stakeholders ranging from major oil-producing states like New Mexico to tribal air agencies to oil and gas producers and methane mitigation companies have all voiced support for the final standards. 

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Also posted in Air Quality / Authors: , , / Comments are closed

Three ways EPA’s upcoming methane regulations will help slow climate change and protect public health

In a move that will protect communities across the country, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will soon finalize new rules to reduce methane and other toxic, smog-forming  pollution from the nation’s oil and gas industry.

Methane is a potent greenhouse gas that’s fueling much of the climate crisis due to the excessive warming it creates during its lifetime in the atmosphere. Methane makes up about 12% of total greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S., but it’s responsible for over 25% of current warming.

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Also posted in Air Quality / Authors: / Comments are closed

New study shows need for accurate methane measurement at orphan oil wells and throughout industry

New research from Colorado State University reveals significant quantities of methane leaking from the state’s orphaned oil and gas wells — an urgent problem for the state to address as the number of abandoned oil and gas wells have surged in recent months. This study underlines the importance of both the state’s efforts to plug and remediate orphan wells as well as the efforts underway at the state Air Pollution Control Division to better understand and quantify methane emissions from oil and gas wells in the production sector.

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Posted in Methane regulatons / Authors: / Comments are closed

New Louisiana rule will plug old oil wells, create jobs, safeguard environment

The Louisiana Department of Natural Resources has finalized new rules to help improve management of 17,000 non-productive oil and gas wells by encouraging their proper closure —an action that will create jobs, raise property values across the state and facilitate new clean energy projects.  

Louisiana has a long history of oil and gas development, with 50,000 wells distributed across the state and along the coast. The state has a responsibility to ensure none of these wells become an environmental or economic liability.

A long-abandoned oil well sits off Louisiana’s coast

About a third of these wells are non-producing but registered as having future utility, meaning the operator claims that they could be economically productive in the future. As a result, the operator isn’t required to plug the well. However, once wells are idled for more than three years, just one in five ever return to service. Often they will only see a tiny fraction of their former production levels.

Unplugged wells cause a host of economic, environmental and even public health and safety problems. They can leak methane and toxic air pollution, contaminate water, reduce property values and prevent other economic uses of the land. 

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Also posted in Methane / Comments are closed

Pennsylvanians want climate action; methane offers an opportunity for Gov. Shapiro to deliver

Marcellus shale gas-drilling site along PA Route 87, Lycoming County.

Marcellus shale gas-drilling site along PA Route 87, Lycoming County.
Photo courtesy of Nicholas A. Tonelli

By John Rutecki

As we wrap up a summer of sweltering heat waves and dangerous air quality, new poll results show strong majorities of Pennsylvanians want action to address the climate crisis. The poll from EDF Action, Earthworks Action Fund, Sierra Club and Clean Air Task Force Action found that the majority of Pennsylvanians support one of the best ways to slow the current rate of warming — cutting methane pollution.

Methane from fossil fuel operations, agriculture and other industries is responsible for at least 30% of current warming.

With the U.S. EPA finalizing its nationwide methane rule for oil and gas producers this fall, Gov. Shapiro has the opportunity to give the majority of Pennsylvanians what they want by delivering a strong state implementation plan to reduce methane emissions.

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