Without fanfare or mainstream news coverage, S&P Global Market Intelligence recently reported that oil and gas companies in New Mexico wasted more natural gas than is consumed by the state’s nearly 600,000 residential customers. Wasting natural resources is not the New Mexico way. Leaks, venting and flaring from the tens of thousands of wells across New Mexico amount to hundreds of millions of dollars a year in lost profit and tens of millions more in lost revenue to the state. Treating natural gas as a waste product instead of capturing and marketing this valuable energy resource is bad for business and bad for New Mexico taxpayers, and it has dire consequences for our children’s education, the health of our communities and the climate.
Pennsylvanians realize that natural gas plays a significant role in the state’s economy. However, the state’s energy resources should be developed responsibly by minimizing natural gas waste and air pollution from new and existing oil and gas infrastructure.
To that end, we applaud the administration of Gov. Tom Wolf as it enters into a rulemaking process that seeks to cut emissions of methane and other air pollutants from the thousands of existing sources of pollution spanning oil and gas development and transmission.
Everywhere you look, it seems there’s another ad trying to persuade people that natural gas is the key to a clean energy future. The American Petroleum Institute (API) is running a seven-figure campaign touting its climate benefits, despite the fact that natural gas is a fossil fuel with a significant carbon footprint.
The industry conducts misleading campaigns like this one because pressure to reduce greenhouse emissions is building. People are coming to realize that we need a 100% clean economy, and they increasingly want pollution-free energy.
The Environmental Protection Agency’s Administrator Andrew Wheeler wants to gut critical measures that reduce methane pollution from the oil and gas industry and help curb the climate crisis. Hundreds of thousands of people, including nine members of the Pennsylvania delegation to the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senator Bob Casey, sent comments to the EPA during the 60-day-comment period expressing their opposition to this reckless rollback.
The truth is that methane emissions cause 25 percent of the impacts from the climate crisis seen today. Methane traps heat and is 87 times more potent as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide over the first 20 years after it’s released into our atmosphere. Warming temperatures and increased precipitation fueled by climate changing methane create ideal conditions for extreme weather to develop.
Is natural gas a bridge or a roadblock to a clean energy future? That’s a vital question now that roughly half of Democratic presidential candidates support a ban on fracking, which is used to produce two-thirds of U.S. natural gas.
Even candidates who oppose a ban agree that the United States should aim for net-zero emissions overall by 2050 or sooner.
So far, the pursuit of net-zero has been far too slow, but natural gas has played a helpful role. American emissions of climate-warming gases have fallen roughly 15 percent from their peak. Replacing coal with natural gas for electricity contributed about a third of that reduction.
Whether natural gas helps or hurts the quest for further reductions will depend on two things: How we get it and how we use it.
Just a few weeks ago, thousands of students in New Mexico and millions of students around the world went on strike, calling on adults to act to curb the stark impacts of global climate change. I was one of them.
Not surprisingly, rather than acting to curb the crisis, the Trump administration continues to act in total contempt of our planet, our communities and our future. Now his EPA is proposing the gutting of rules to stop methane pollution and waste saying it doesnft have the authority to regulate these pollutants.
Methane is the most harmful greenhouse gas and is one of the worst byproducts of the oil boom here in New Mexico, and it spews out of these facilities with a host of other contaminants that hurt our health.