Energy Exchange

States should not weaken liability laws for CCS projects

Early this January, a geyser in West Texas started spewing tens of thousands of barrels of salty water a hundred feet into the air and coating the nearby land with salt deposits. It took about 10 days to discover the culprit was an old, dry oil well plugged in 1957 by Gulf Oil. By the next day, the Texas Railroad Commission had turned over the blowout and remediation to Chevron (who acquired Gulf Oil in the 1980s), who assumed full responsibility immediately and without question.

This is a normal cost of doing business in the oilfield in Texas and elsewhere — you break it, you pay for it.

Traditional regulatory and legal principles around liability are designed to hold operators accountable when they or those they are responsible for fail to live up to their responsibilities. Such rules encourage operators to do as good and thorough a job as technically feasible.

However, some states are weakening these rules for operators of carbon sequestration and storage projects. If this quiet trend continues, the integrity of these projects, their climate benefits and their public acceptance could be significantly threatened.

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Also posted in Carbon capture, Wyoming / Language: / Comments are closed

Dallas workshop showcases Texas-sized excitement for ZEV trucks

Last week, EDF and the North Central Texas Council of Governments hosted a daylong workshop on the state of zero-emission heavy-duty vehicles in Texas. Over 100 fleet owners, managers, industry experts and government officials came together to discuss the latest technology for hydrogen and electric trucks, the state of the Texas grid and go along for a ride-and-drive on some of the latest truck models on the road.

The transportation sector is the largest source of climate pollution in the U.S., and medium- and heavy-duty vehicles are responsible for more than half of the smog-forming pollution from the sector. Freight trucks and buses also consume more than 55 billion gallons of fuel annually at a significant cost for truckers and fleets.

EDF is committed to helping fleets of all sizes transition to cleaner ZEV truck models and in the process cut dangerous air pollution and protect the health of communities. That’s where this workshop comes in.

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Also posted in Electric Vehicles / 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.

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

Texas grid reform report card is in, and it isn’t good

Following the historic and crippling grid failure caused by Winter Storm Uri in February 2021, the state of Texas — Gov. Greg Abbott and a bipartisan collection of elected leaders — pledged to ensure such a catastrophic disaster would never happen again.

The state Legislature, already in session, launched a series of hearings to find causes and culprits. Several organizations and energy experts provided state leaders suggestions and guidance; EDF was one of them. Our detailed report to the Legislature, issued in February 2021, recommended eight specific areas on which the state’s examination should focus.

Following the Legislature’s modest action, Gov. Abbott famously exclaimed, “Everything that needed to be done was done to fix the power grid in Texas.”

A look back at what’s actually been done so far to strengthen the grid, however, tells a very different story. Comparing the state’s action against EDF’s suggestions reveals a remarkably lackluster response to the biggest failure of state infrastructure and oversight in recent memory.

As we prepare to recognize the first anniversary of the grid failure, EDF graded the state’s response against our eight core recommendations.

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Posted in Texas / 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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Also posted in Air Quality, California, Electric Vehicles / 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.

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