Energy Exchange

As nations sign on to end routine flaring, Biden admin must act

The last two months have seen encouraging momentum in the effort to tackle emissions of methane — a greenhouse gas that drives over a quarter of current warming — and the practice of flaring, which is a major source of energy waste and methane pollution.

Starting with last month’s Major Economies Forum, one of the last major climate gatherings before COP 27 in Egypt, signatories to the Global Methane Pledge introduced a new goal to end routine flaring as soon as possible, and by 2030 at the latest.

Then, just this week, the U.S. and Mexico announced a commitment to cooperate and help Mexico develop a plan to eliminate routine flaring in alignment with the Global Methane Pledge.

Fast action to end routine flaring is critical for reducing emissions of methane, protecting human health and the climate, and stopping needless waste of energy resources as the world faces an energy crisis spurred by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Now, the U.S. has work to do to ensure domestic policies can live up to our own global commitments. Fortunately, both the Bureau of Land Management and the Environmental Protection Agency have the authority and obligation to implement strong rules that end routine flaring.

Read More »

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

Lessons from New Mexico and Colorado’s leading methane rules

Methane leaks from oil and gas sites represents a problem on many fronts. They create harmful air pollution, contribute to global warming and can even cause explosions. They also result in a lot of wasted gas.

Colorado and New Mexico — two of the nation’s leading energy producers — recently ramped up their methane pollution standards for the oil and gas industry.

Ensure standards apply to smaller, low-producing wells

The vast majority of the nation’s wells produce less than 15 barrels of oil a day and there are often calls for these sites to be exempted from environmental standards. This is a major problem because their footprint is huge and their climate impact adds up.

Read More »

Also posted in BLM Methane, Methane, New Mexico / Language: / Comments are closed

For Colorado’s clean truck ambition, it’s time for action, not delay

In March 2022, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis unveiled an ambitious and forward-thinking zero-emission medium- and heavy-duty truck strategy his administration said could reduce climate emissions from this sector at least 45% by 2050.

Gov. Polis is right: Colorado’s Clean Truck Strategy would build upon the state’s “national-leading climate and infrastructure goals.” But key pieces necessary to achieve that ambition have already stalled. Three state agencies (Colorado Energy Office, Department of Transportation, Air Pollution Control Division) want to push adoption of the Advanced Clean Trucks rule and the Heavy-Duty Omnibus (low NOx) rule — key policy drivers for this transition — to next year.

In response, EDF and a host of other environmental groups, environmental justice advocates and local governments filed a petition with the state’s Air Quality Control Commission to move forward with the ACT and low NOx rulemaking and adopt these regulations this year, rather than delay to 2023, and AQCC agreed to hear the petition on April 21.

In short, the AQCC should work with the Polis administration to move forward with adopting the ACT and low NOx rulemaking by the end of the year.

Read More »

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

New Rystad cost analysis makes case for EPA to end routine flaring in final methane rule

By Jon Goldstein and Grace Weatherall

Reducing the amount of methane emitted from oil and gas infrastructure is among the cheapest and simplest solutions we have to reduce global warming quickly while protecting public health. The Environmental Protection Agency is in the midst of developing rules to curb these emissions from oil and gas producers across the country.

A new analysis commissioned by EDF and conducted by Rystad Energy makes it clear that eliminating routine flaring — a major source of rogue emissions — should be part of EPA’s methane rulemaking.

Though there are valid safety reasons for some minimal flaring, most of it occurs via routine flaring — when oil producers simply don’t have a place to put the natural gas that emerges from the ground during oil production and simply burn it off. More than $1 billion of natural gas is wasted at flares every year, driving unnecessary and harmful climate and local air pollution — including methane, an extremely potent greenhouse gas — when natural gas is not fully burned.

Rystad’s report includes two key findings that should inform EPA’s rulemaking.

Read More »

Also posted in Air Quality, Methane, Methane regulatons, Natural Gas, New Mexico, Texas / Language: / 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.

Read More »

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

With oil and gas pollution rules restored, what’s next for EPA on methane?

Last month, President Biden signed into law S.J. Res. 14, a Congressional Review Act resolution restoring methane pollution standards for the oil and gas sector by repealing Trump-era rollbacks. With bipartisan backing, Congress passed the measure and rejected the Trump administration’s dangerous weakening of methane protections and its unlawful attempt to prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from setting stronger standards in the future.

With these protections restored, this fall EPA will propose additional standards for both new and existing sources of methane emissions.

Read More »

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