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, Texas / Language: / Comments are closed

To tackle natural gas waste on federal and tribal lands, the Biden administration must end routine venting and flaring

By Jon Goldstein and Ben Tettlebaum

With responsibility over one-eighth of the nation’s landmass, the Bureau of Land Management has a lot of important jobs. Chief among them is ensuring federal and tribal lands — and the minerals beneath them — are wisely and responsibly managed on behalf of the public, including U.S. taxpayers and tribal citizens.

But avoidable venting and flaring of natural gas from these lands emit harmful pollutants that have significant public health impacts, especially on communities living near oil and gas fields. What’s more, this damaging practice severely exacerbates the climate crisis and, estimates show, wastes $400 million worth of gas every year.

That’s why a broad coalition of 65 environmental, conservation, tribal, business, faith and agricultural groups called on BLM in a letter late last month to follow the lead of states like Alaska, Colorado and New Mexico and ban routine venting and flaring of natural gas.

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

Conservative Wyoming rises to the occasion as feds roll over on oil and gas pollution

Lost amid the wrapping paper this holiday season was a very important move in Wyoming to step up and better regulate air pollution from the state’s oil and gas wells. It was one more reason to pop some champagne corks as we rang in the New Year.

Without much fanfare on Dec. 27, Wyoming finalized new requirements that will mean significant reductions in oil and gas air pollution – including methane – statewide. These newly finalized rules require oil and gas producers to regularly check new and modified oil and gas wells and associated infrastructure for leaks, an improvement that EDF and partners like the Wyoming Outdoor Council have been advocating for several years.

And beyond the holidays, the timing of this move could not be better. That is because while Wyoming is requiring twice-yearly leak inspections at new and modified well sites statewide, the Trump administration’s EPA is working to significantly weaken these same leak inspection requirements at the federal level.

The message here is clear: sensible requirements to regularly find and fix leaks make sense in conservative Wyoming, and they should all across the U.S.

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Also posted in Air Quality, Methane, Natural Gas / Language: / Comments are closed

How oil & gas states did (and did not) protect land and water in 2018

By Adam Peltz & Nichole Saunders

Keeping an eye on what happens with domestic oil and gas regulation is a bit like herding cats. We’ve seen encouraging progress on air quality issues related to oil and gas, but an equally critical front that’s seen major action is protection of our land and water resources.

More than 30 states actively regulate oil and gas development but their practices and rules vary significantly. Add the recent attention around industry’s impact on local communities – from earthquakes and the risk of spills to increased traffic and local air pollution – and it’s easy to miss the big trends that dominated regulatory agendas in 2018.

EDF devotes a significant amount of time tracking this activity, and 2018 was a busy year. Over a dozen states completed rule updates and other types of improvements this year on a variety of topics.

Here are the big things we saw in 2018.

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Also posted in Aliso Canyon, California, Colorado, Methane, Natural Gas, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, produced water, produced water, State, Texas, Water / Tagged , , | Language: / Comments are closed

These red and blue states are tackling climate change since Trump won’t

By Keith Zukowski, Communications Project Manager

If you’ve been focused on recent reports of climate disaster, or on the Trump administration’s relentless attacks against environmental safeguards and climate science, you’re probably worrying we’re not making progress – at all.

But look a little closer, right here in the United States, and you’ll see that people aren’t waiting around. Instead of giving in to a warmer, more chaotic world, states across the country have stepped up, and into, the vacuum left by the federal government.

They’re implementing creative, innovative solutions that tackle climate change while prioritizing people, our economy and the environment. While federal policies will ultimately be necessary to fully take on climate change, these states are proving that action is both doable and good for the economy.

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Also posted in California, Clean Energy, Climate, Colorado, New Jersey, North Carolina, Renewable Energy / Language: / Comments are closed

New EPA data confirms methane emissions not declining fast enough

Last week EPA released its annual data from large emitters, called the Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program (GHGRP). It is not a comprehensive account of all methane emissions (for that, check out our methane synthesis paper published earlier this year) but it does provided us with an important snapshot of 2017 oil and gas methane emissions.

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