Energy Exchange

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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Also posted in Air Quality, Methane, Methane regulatons, New Mexico / Comments are closed

Illinois lays out blueprint for next generation climate legislation

Immediately after the Future Energy Jobs Act was passed in 2016, EDF and our tremendous partners in the Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition started work again. Building on that momentum and with many new and diverse partners, the Coalition held over 100 listening sessions with communities about their top priorities for Illinois. During those listening sessions, in every corner of the state, shared priorities emerged and became the pillars of the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act.

The core tenants of CEJA were built from the bottom-up, and after years of hard work, deep listening and authentic collaboration, the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act, SB2408, was signed into law by Governor J.B. Pritzker yesterday.

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Also posted in CEJA, Clean Energy, Illinois / Comments are closed

As Texas fails to stop flaring, EPA must act

Routine flaring in Texas is, well, too routine. It’s wasteful, harmful for health and the climate, and getting permission to burn gas instead of finding a productive use for it is far too easy in our state. Over 1 trillion cubic feet of Texas gas have been vented or flared by operators in the past decade — as much gas as 14 million Texas households use in an entire year.

Under mounting pressure from investors, communities and oil and gas operators, factions of industry have made recent public commitments to reduce this wasteful practice. For example, the Texas Methane and Flaring Coalition announced a collective goal to end routine flaring in Texas by 2030.

This may sound like progress, but in reality it’s yet another decade of wasteful flaring and a pledge that comes with no commitment to the regulatory changes vital to make it happen statewide. We can’t wait that long.

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

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 Air Quality, Electric Vehicles, Texas / Comments are closed

Bipartisan Texas law smooths the path toward a more vibrant EV market

By Daniela de Souza

On September 1, a bill that helps businesses build a better, brighter future for electric vehicles in Texas will become state law.

SB 1202, makes it possible for companies or individuals that own or operate equipment used solely for electric vehicle charging services to avoid being regulated as electric utilities or electric retail providers.

The Texas Utilities Code requires electric utilities to provide continuous and reliable electricity service on a non-discriminatory and transparent basis. In a January 2021 report to the Texas Legislature, the Public Utility Commission of Texas explained that these safeguards protect customers at their homes and businesses, where uninterrupted electric service preserves lives and livelihoods.

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Also posted in Electric Vehicles, Texas / Comments are closed

Funding to plug and remediate orphan wells moves forward in the Senate

The bipartisan infrastructure bill currently under debate in Washington includes a new, $4.7 billion program to address a significant environmental legacy of the fossil fuel industry — the plugging and remediating of orphan oil and gas wells.

Orphan wells have no owner, so the cleanup liability falls largely to the public. Nearly 60,000 such wells have been documented by state and federal agencies, but there are likely many hundreds of thousands more scattered across more than two dozen states.

Unless properly plugged, oil and gas wells no longer in use pose major environmental hazards. They can contaminate groundwater and surface water resources. They emit methane — a potent greenhouse gas over 80 times more powerful in contributing to warming in the short term than carbon dioxide. They can also release air pollutants that are hazardous to human health.

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