A new report shows the U.S. methane mitigation industry has undergone massive growth as state and federal policy makers have acted to reduce methane pollution and waste through new regulatory requirements. Since 2017, the methane mitigation industry’s service sector has nearly doubled in size, while the number of manufacturing firms has grown by one third since 2014.
The report, Find, Measure, Fix: Jobs in the U.S. Methane Emissions Mitigation Industry, was authored by Datu Research and offers a comprehensive assessment of this growing business sector and the jobs it creates. The report identified more than 200 companies with over 750 locations across the country that provide products and services to help the oil and gas industry reduce emissions.
>> Learn more about the report, here.
The National Tribal Air Association’s STAR is an annual publication intended to provide an understanding of the importance and impact of Tribal air programs. Nationally vetted Tribal needs, priorities, and recommendations are all outlined, and the successes and challenges experienced by the environmental professionals are highlighted by way of personal narratives submitted by the Tribes themselves. A budget analysis appendix is included in each edition of the STAR, and over the years a variety of other appendices have served to underscore important and relevant topics.
This report provides national leadership with recommendations on how to improve air quality in and around Tribal communities while detailing the successes and challenges of Tribal Air Quality Programs and the connections between air pollution, public health, and Tribes. There are many references to oil and gas development and additional valuable information.
>> Read the report here.
It was an honor to testify before the House Subcommittee on the Environment on the role of federal fossil fuel subsidies in preventing action on the climate crisis. However, I was disappointed by the response from state and local government leaders who I believe misrepresented the issue, citing research published by the oil and gas industry to back up false claims of economic growth and “clean” emissions.
In a recent news article, state Sen.Frank Hoagland, R-Mingo Junction, stated: “Far left attempts to vilify the significant economic opportunities brought by the oil and gas industry are patently false …” This argument is futile, as the statistics mentioned in my testimony came directly from the Bureau of Labor Statics and Bureau of Economics. It is the irrefutable truth, based on governmental data, that Appalachian fracking counties have lost 6,500 jobs and 13,000 residents since the fracking boom began.
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U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez deserved the criticism she took after the February 2019 rollout of her Green New Deal included an FAQ that referenced “farting cows”.
Explaining why the plan’s 10-year goal was to get to “net-zero, rather than zero emissions”, the FAQ noted, probably in an attempt at humor, that “we aren’t sure that we’ll be able to fully get rid of farting cows and airplanes that fast…”
The statement was a gift to conservatives and AOC’s political opponents who wanted nothing more than to paint the Green New Deal as the half-baked concoction of some far-left radicals.
The right leveraged “farting cows” to spin the Green New Deal into a punchline and sow fear that the left had it in for the agricultural and transportation industries. For her part, Ocasio-Cortez got more subsequent attention for containing the flatulent fallout than she did for espousing the Green New Deal’s smart and worth-considering proposals.
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The Global Methane Assessment shows that human-caused methane emissions can be reduced by up to 45 per cent this decade. Such reductions would avoid nearly 0.3°C of global warming by 2045 and would be consistent with keeping the Paris Climate Agreement’s goal to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius (1.5˚C) within reach.
The assessment, for the first time, integrates the climate and air pollution costs and benefits from methane mitigation. Because methane is a key ingredient in the formation of ground-level ozone (smog), a powerful climate forcer and dangerous air pollutant, a 45 per cent reduction would prevent 260 000 premature deaths, 775 000 asthma-related hospital visits, 73 billion hours of lost labour from extreme heat, and 25 million tonnes of crop losses annually.
Download a PDF of the report, here.
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.
>> Read more