Energy Exchange

Methane gas leaks present environmental justice concerns

By Erin Murphy and Joe von Fischer

New peer-reviewed research reveals neighborhoods with more people of color and lower household income tended to have more gas leaks. Because natural gas is composed primarily of methane, leaks are a source of climate pollution as well as a health and safety hazard and nuisance to nearby communities. The findings demonstrate why regulators and gas utilities should be open with the public about gas leak information and ensure that leaks in disadvantaged communities are addressed equitably.

What the research tells us

Researchers analyzed gas leak location data in nine U.S. metro areas and found leak densities increased along with the percentage of people of color and with decreasing median household income. Thus, communities of color and low-income populations generally experienced more gas leaks. The study found that average leak density increases by 37% for these populations compared to predominantly white neighborhoods. Leak density — the number of leaks per mile of pipeline — also increased slightly in neighborhoods with older housing infrastructure.

Read More »

Posted in General / 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 Colorado, Electric Vehicles / Language: / Comments are closed

Hydrogen is booming: 3 things investors need to know to reduce their risk

By Jake Hiller

The U.S. Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act has set off a flurry of competition among states for a piece of the $8 billion in direct funding and tax credits the law provides for four “hydrogen hubs.” Last week, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Arkansas announced a joint bid, and New Mexico said it will also join the fray.

The role proposed for hydrogen in the EU’s climate transition plan lays the groundwork for a surge of investment there as well. China is in the race, too, with $20 billion in public funding already made available to projects.

A parallel rush to hydrogen is underway in the private sector. According to the Hydrogen Council and McKinsey, more than 350 large-scale projects worth $500 billion have already been announced, with hydrogen investments growing by roughly $1 billion per week. As Goldman Sachs recently wrote, “Policy, affordability and scalability seem to be converging to create unprecedented momentum for the clean hydrogen economy.”

How can investors boost the potential of their hydrogen stakes?

Hydrogen has a number of strengths as an energy carrier and decarbonization pathway. Its ability to generate both heat and electricity, its high energy content relative to its weight and its potential for storage either as a liquid or a gas make it particularly attractive for hard-to-abate sectors such as steel, cement, shipping and aviation. Read More »

Posted in General / Language: / Comments are closed

New York should accelerate the adoption of zero-emission trucks

On the heels of COP26, Governor Hochul has made it clear that New Yorkers must work together to tackle climate change in the state. And New York is taking steps to prioritize climate and clean air. Back in September, the Department of Environmental Conservation introduced the Advanced Clean Trucks rule, which requires manufacturers to produce and sell a percentage of new electric trucks annually through 2035.  Since the process began, there has been a 60-day public comment period, during which Environmental Defense Fund provided testimony at a public hearing and submitted joint comments with key stakeholders.

The ACT is a critical first step toward eliminating tailpipe emissions from new trucks and making the air cleaner and more breathable in neighborhoods across the state. But it is not — nor should it be — the sole means to mobilize the market for zero-emission medium- and heavy-duty vehicles and reduce pollution.  A variety of complementary policies must be put in place to allow for a cost-effective, equitable and sustainable transition to clean vehicles.

New York needs zero-emission trucks

Transportation is a leading source of air pollution in New York, accounting for 36% of all greenhouse gas emissions across the state. And while trucks only make up 5% of the state’s 10.6 million registered vehicles, the emissions produced from this sector are disproportionate to the population. Read More »

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

New innovative tool empowers utilities to reduce emissions in investment planning

By Erin Murphy and Christie Hicks

As the United States moves toward decarbonization, cities and states must use all means available to reduce climate pollution, and natural gas utilities should be at the forefront of this rapid energy transition. Gas utilities are the subject of increasing scrutiny because plans to expand and fortify their infrastructure could lock in greenhouse gas emissions and costs for decades. As the industry reckons with its role in a decarbonized future, advocates, utilities and regulators alike are calling for a carefully-managed transition that avoids costly long-term investments. New York has been at the forefront of this effort, seeking to balance ambitious climate goals with outdated natural gas investment planning processes.

To help utility planners align business decisions with environmental targets, EDF engaged MJ Bradley and Associates to develop the Gas Company Climate Planning Tool, an innovative new framework for New York and other states.

Read More »

Also posted in Gas to Clean, Methane, Natural Gas, New York / Language: / Comments are closed

Congress should restore critical methane pollution standards

By Rosalie Winn and Raisa Orleans

EDF Legal Fellow Edwin LaMair contributed to this post.

Lawmakers last week introduced joint resolutions under the Congressional Review Act to restore widely-supported methane pollution protections and allow the Environmental Protection Agency to move forward swiftly with ambitious next-generation standards for new and existing oil and gas facilities. The move has received broad support from environmental groups and at least one industry trade group.

The resolutions have widespread support among both House and Senate leadership and will be fast-tracked in the coming weeks.

EPA first adopted the standards in 2016 to reduce the oil and gas industry’s pollution of methane — a potent greenhouse gas and the primary component of natural gas — along with other smog-forming and hazardous local air pollution.

Methane is responsible for a quarter of the warming that we are experiencing today, and the oil and gas industry is the largest industrial source of methane pollution in the U.S. Local health-harming pollution from the industry impacts more than 9 million Americans who live on the frontlines of oil and gas development. Read More »

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