Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

EPA Focuses on Fracking, Leaks and More to Further Obama's Methane Plan

Energy

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Tuesday released five technical papers as the first step to enacting President Barack Obama's recent plan to reduce methane emissions.

The five white papers address different emissions sources and mitigation techniques regarding methane and volatile organic compounds. The sources of focus are fracking, leaks, compressors, liquid removal and pneumatic devices.

Graphic credit: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

"[The] EPA will use the papers, along with the input we receive from the peer reviewers and the public, to determine how to best pursue additional reductions from these sources," according to a white paper summary

The summary also includes brief definitions of each of those sources, while the actual papers gather years of EPA research on each of the sources. For instance, the fracking paper states that there were an estimated 504,000 gas-production wells in the U.S. and about 536,000 that produced oil. Meanwhile, the compressor paper details the number of compressors reported from 2012 under the Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program, which was required by Congress about six years ago, and the startling emissions figures associated with those compressors.

Graphic credit: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Having already provided research showing that the U.S. is capable of reducing methane emissions by 40 percent below 2018 projections, the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) was pleased with the release of the papers and hopes it signals a move toward greater emissions for the country.

“Recent economic assessments point out that there are readily-available, cost-effective technologies to minimize methane emissions today, and leading states have already deployed many of these important solutions," said Peter Zalzal, an EDF staff attorney. "We’re heartened to see EPA and the Administration continuing to press ahead on this urgent issue.”

Earthworks’ Policy Director Lauren Pagel expressed a similar sentiment, though she'd prefer an approach that eyes independence from fossil fuels altogether.

"We are pleased the Obama administration is seeking expert input in assessing the extent of the problem and how to deal with it," she said. "The time to act on methane pollution from oil and gas development is now. The administration’s own National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, along with Stanford, Harvard, Purdue and other scientific institutions have already sounded the alarm about the oil and gas industry’s threat to our climate.

"While we encourage the EPA to do everything within its power to stop methane emissions from oil and gas production, that is no substitute for dropping dirty fossil fuels replacing them with truly clean alternatives like conservation and renewable energy. Ultimately, the President can't have it both ways. He can fight climate change, or he can promote fracking and unconventional oil and gas production. He can’t do both."  

The EPA says it is seeking input from independent experts, along with data and technical information from the public. The federal agency is accepting comments through June 16.

——–

YOU ALSO MIGHT LIKE

Obama’s Methane Emissions Plan Puts Oil, Coal and Gas Industries on Notice

Study Shows Oil and Gas Industry Can Reduce Methane Emissions By 40 Percent

Study Finds Underestimated Methane Emissions Negate Industry Claims of Fracked Gas’ Benefits

——–

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A grizzly bear sow with cub in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming. Danita Delimont / Gallo Images / Getty Images Plus

Grizzly bears in Wyoming and Idaho won't be subject to a trophy hunt thanks to a federal court decision Wednesday upholding endangered species protections for these iconic animals.

Read More Show Less
Oregano oil is an extract that is not as strong as the essential oil, but appears to be useful both when consumed or applied to the skin. Peakpx / CC by 1.0

By Alexandra Rowles

Oregano is a fragrant herb that's best known as an ingredient in Italian food.

However, it can also be concentrated into an essential oil that's loaded with antioxidants and powerful compounds that have proven health benefits.

Read More Show Less
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro meets Ronaldo Caiado, governor of the state of Goiás on June 5, 2020. Palácio do Planalto / CC BY 2.0

Far-right Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who has presided over the world's second worst coronavirus outbreak after the U.S., said Tuesday that he had tested positive for the virus.

Read More Show Less
Although natural gas produces fewer greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants than coal or oil, it is a major contributor to climate change, an urgent global problem. Skitterphoto / PIxabay

By Emily Grubert

Natural gas is a versatile fossil fuel that accounts for about a third of U.S. energy use. Although it produces fewer greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants than coal or oil, natural gas is a major contributor to climate change, an urgent global problem. Reducing emissions from the natural gas system is especially challenging because natural gas is used roughly equally for electricity, heating, and industrial applications.

Read More Show Less
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has approved two Lysol products as the first to effectively kill the novel coronavirus on surfaces, based on laboratory testing. Paul Hennessy / NurPhoto via Getty Images

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently issued a list of 431 products that are effective at killing viruses when they are on surfaces. Now, a good year for Lysol manufacturer Reckitt Benckiser just got better when the EPA said that two Lysol products are among the products that can kill the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

Read More Show Less
U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez unveils the Green New Deal resolution in front of the U.S. Capitol on February 7, 2019 in Washington, DC. Alex Wong / Getty Images

By Judith Lewis Mernit

For all its posturing on climate change, the Democratic Party has long been weak on the actual policies we need to save us from extinction. President Barack Obama promised his presidency would mark "the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow," and then embraced natural gas, a major driver of global temperature rise, as a "bridge fuel." Climate legislation passed in the House in 2009 would have allowed industries to buy credits to pollute, a practice known to concentrate toxic air in black and brown neighborhoods while doing little to cut emissions.

Read More Show Less

Trending

About 30,000 claims contending that Roundup caused non-Hodgkin's lymphoma are currently unsettled. Mike Mozart / CC BY 2.0

Bayer's $10 billion settlement to put an end to roughly 125,000 lawsuits against its popular weed killer Roundup, which contains glyphosate, hit a snag this week when a federal judge in San Francisco expressed skepticism over what rights future plaintiffs would have, as the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

Read More Show Less