Last October, France blocked a $7 billion U.S. LNG deal weeks after the Trump administration finalized a rule to stop the direct federal regulation of methane emissions from oil and gas production.
The timing was not a coincidence.
France’s actions and current conversations in the EU about imposing methane standards on gas sold into Europe make explicit the link between the U.S. controlling its methane emissions and America’s continued ability to compete in the global LNG market. The message from the customer is clear: Clean up your act, or we’re not buying it.
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I grew up in a company town, a daughter of the fossil fuel industry.
When business was booming, our air was harder to breathe. When business was a bust, families in our community struggled to put food on the table. This vicious cycle led many to believe that we had to choose between a healthy environment or a vibrant economy.
I have spent many years fighting that false dichotomy. Protecting air, land, and water in a manner that creates and maintains jobs should never be up for debate. We can, and should, do both.
That is why I believe President Biden’s American Jobs Plan is the right investment for our future. This plan secures environmental and economic wins, while also addressing climate change.
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Unplugged oil and gas wells pose a significant threat to our climate, as well as having negative impacts on water, air, and public health and safety. But the inventory of these wells, including orphaned wells, has been growing, not shrinking, year over year. The longer these wells sit, the more damage they cause.
Reclaiming Oil and Gas Wells and Addressing Climate Impacts: State Policy Recommendations seeks to summarize the challenges state regulatory programs face and make recommendations for stronger policies that will help ensure that oil and gas sites are plugged and reclaimed in a complete and timely way. The most critical policy solution to ensure wells are cleaned up is to require financial assurance, or bonds, at a level that covers the full cost to plug and reclaim them. This strategy can ensure that industry—not states and taxpayers—will be responsible for these costs.
Download a PDF of the white paper here.
Pennsylvania is obligated to protect the health of its citizens. This is as clear as the air we breathe is not. Pennsylvania is the second largest natural gas producing state and one of the dirtiest in terms of air pollution. The Pennsylvania Department of Health recently concluded that “Air pollution is one of the greatest health challenges in Pennsylvania.”
Methane, leaked by the oil and gas industry, is often accompanied by dangerous volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that form ground-level ozone, known as smog, a pervasive asthma-causing air pollutant. Hotter temperatures from climate change, caused by greenhouse gases like methane, result in increased smog levels. The Biden Administration has committed to proposing new and updated standards for methane and VOC leakage from new and existing oil and gas facilities. The Biden administration has also directed the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), who oversees certification of natural gas pipelines, to consider a proposed fossil fuel pipeline’s contribution to climate change.
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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is on pace to propose new standards for methane and other volatile organic compound pollution from oil and gas facilities by September .
This month, Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-New Mexico, will attempt to use the 1996 Congressional Review Act to undo the Trump Administration’s reckless dismantling of the 2016 New Source Performance Standards for oil and gas facilities. This was the first-ever federal standard for methane and volatile organic compound leakage from new oil and gas facilities.
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