Across the country and the world, there are an estimated 29 million abandoned oil and gas wells leaking methane and other contaminants into ground water and the atmosphere. Despite this, we continue to poke more holes in the Earth, making more wounds that never heal.
An abandoned well is an open straw from the surface down to fossil fuel-bearing rock, often passing through freshwater aquifers. The only thing stopping ground water contamination is a bit of steel and concrete that was put there when the well was completed, often decades ago. It is hot and salty at the bottom of a well. Perfect conditions for corrosion of steel and degradation of concrete. Once that happens, and it always will, channels of contamination open to the freshwater aquifers that we use for drinking and crop irrigation.
NOAA (The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) just published a shocking report indicating that the Northern Hemisphere had its hottest summer in recorded history. One would think that in light of this news, Andrew Wheeler, the EPA Administrator, would reconsider his stance on the assault of existing methane rules. These rules have been successful in preventing the emissions of millions of tons of the highly-potent greenhouse gas methane. Yet, Wheeler, who also happens to be a former coal industry lobbyist, has failed to meet the dire needs of the current moment.
On Aug. 13, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator and former coal lobbyist Andrew Wheeler stopped in Pittsburgh to announce the finalization of another dangerous regulatory rollback. Amid the global pandemic and over 1,000 Americans dying every day from acute respiratory disease, EPA gutted commonsense air pollution standards that protect the public from methane leaks from fracked gas infrastructure. These methane controls, known as the 2016 New Source Performance Standards for the Oil and Natural Gas Industry (2016 NSPS), have been successfully implemented for years. They have already helped prevent hundreds of thousands of tons of industrial methane leaks.
In one of the most unconscionable public health decisions to date, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is openly admitting it will turn a blind eye to industry polluters who claim COVID19 “made them pollute.”
Oil and gas companies will now profit from being able to easily release dangerous toxins into our atmosphere at the expense of our wellbeing.
Deregulation of pollution standards is what will cause Pennsylvania to yet again experience one of the hottest summers on record according to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Not only are temperatures rising but so are extreme weather conditions.
Usually it is really hot and humid in Philadelphia in the summer, but this summer will be something different.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) forecasts that 2020 has a 75-percent chance of being the hottest year on record in the United States since records began in 1880, beating 2016. This summer will require the City to rethink how we deal with extreme heat and climate change.
It’s extremely worrisome what the long, hot summer months will bring to Philadelphia. What’s more troubling is which groups of people will suffer the most. Many Philadelphians are very vulnerable to the heat, but the risk is not evenly distributed.
What is the future of gas in the U.S. electric power sector? Is it essential, long-term, for a reliable and economical electric supply? A new study from UC Berkeley provides the latest answer, demonstrating it is technically and economically feasible to reach 90% clean electricity by 2035 without building any new gas plants and reducing generation from existing plants by 70%, all without any increase in wholesale power costs compared to today.
As our community faces a pandemic, the federal administration is exacerbating another public crisis. In August, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency proposed eliminating federal regulation of methane, regulations which require regular monitoring for methane leaks and repairs.
In March, the EPA ceased oversight of industry emissions of any kind, citing the pandemic. The EPA will instead allow companies to regulate themselves for the indefinite future.
Ohio has a particular interest in the proposed methane-regulation rollback. Methane is the main gas emitted in natural gas extraction, and, according to IHS Markit, the Ohio Valley is expected to supply nearly half of the country’s natural gas by 2040. The Environmental Defense Fund found that the proposed rollbacks would lead to an additional 5 million metric tons of methane pollution, a contributor to climate change, each year.
Everyone knows how important air and breathing is to human well-being. The elements for healthy life are straightforward: access to air to breathe and the quality of that air. Many of us in Colorado are denied access to quality, clean air.
The state legislature in 2019 passed two bills affecting air quality: SB19-181 and HB19-1261. SB19-181 in its first revised section addresses maximum reduction of emissions of methane and other hydrocarbons, volatile organic compounds, and oxides of nitrogen from oil and gas exploration and production facilities and natural gas processing. HB19-1261 declares that the policy of the state is to achieve the maximum practical degree of air purity in every portion of the state and to prevent deterioration of air quality. Both bills address the impact of emissions on climate change.