Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

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

An aerial view of a crude oil storage facility of Caspian Pipeline Consortium (CPC) in the Krasnodar Territory. Vitaly Timkiv / TASS / Getty Images

Oil rigs around the world keep pulling crude oil out of the ground, but the global pandemic has sent shockwaves into the market. The supply is up, but demand has plummeted now that industry has ground to a halt, highways are empty, and airplanes are parked in hangars.

Read More Show Less
Examples (from left) of a lead pipe, a corroded steel pipe and a lead pipe treated with protective orthophosphate. U.S. EPA Region 5

Under an agreement negotiated by community groups — represented by NRDC and the Pennsylvania Utility Law Project — the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority (PWSA) will remove thousands of lead water pipes by 2026 in order to address the chronically high lead levels in the city's drinking water and protect residents' health.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
ROBYN BECK / AFP / Getty Images

By Dave Cooke

So, they finally went and did it — the Trump administration just finalized a rule to undo requirements on manufacturers to improve fuel economy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from new passenger cars and trucks. Even with the economy at the brink of a recession, they went forward with a policy they know is bad for consumers — their own analysis shows that American drivers are going to spend hundreds of dollars more in fuel as a result of this stupid policy — but they went ahead and did it anyway.

Read More Show Less

By Richard Connor

A blood test that screens for more than 50 types of cancer could help doctors treat patients at an earlier stage than previously possible, a new study shows. The method was used to screen for more than 50 types of cancer — including particularly deadly variants such as pancreatic, ovarian, bowel and brain.

Read More Show Less
Ian Sane / Flickr

Preliminary data from the Centers for Disease Control showed a larger number of young people coming down with COVID-19 than first expected, with patients under the age of 45 comprising more than a third of all cases, and one in five of those patients requiring hospitalization. That also tends to be the group most likely to use e-cigarettes.

Read More Show Less