Smart plan for cutting emissions from natural gas fields from @FredKrupp below. More insights from @Levi_M. EDF release: Environmental Defense Fund President Fred Krupp called for action in response to a new scientific report published this week in the Geophysical Research Letters. The study reported high levels of climate-altering methane emissions observed on one day in Utah’s Uintah Basin, the state’s largest oil and gas producing region. Methane, the main ingredient in natural gas, is a greenhouse gas many times more potent than carbon dioxide.
Researchers at the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) led the study, which reported a methane leak rate between 6.2 to 11.7 percent of total production for an area of about 1,000 square miles. Findings are based on aircraft overflights on February 3, 2012 that measured methane in the air and estimated the proportion of those emissions from the oil and gas operations—production, gathering systems, processing and transmission. Measurements were taken over twelve days but due to poor weather conditions, estimates are based on a single day.
“Though the sample size is small, these emissions estimates are alarming,” said Krupp, who served on the U.S. Secretary of Energy’s Advisory Board for natural gas. “Regulators and industry must take immediate steps to address methane emissions in the Uintah Basin, by evaluating industry practices in the region and strengthening regulations to keep up with best available technologies. Reducing methane emissions is a critical issue not only for the industry, but for everyone concerned about climate change.
“Urgency is building. In June President Obama identified methane as a key priority in his Climate Action Plan. Federal and state regulators have an obligation to ensure that strong rules are in place and enforced. This study suggests that methane emissions may be a serious problem in Utah, but we need more data to pinpoint exactly where emissions are coming from and to identify the opportunities are to reduce them. When it comes to methane, we know enough to get started. We can’t afford to wait.”
Specifically, Krupp called for the following measures to be taken:
- Both federal and state air regulators need to publically account for the current status of regulation and enforcement in the Uintah, and conduct an audit of enforcement practices and procedures, including an assessment of current resources;
- Utah is to be commended for publishing a list of best practices for oil and gas production, but should be putting leading practices into law;
- EPA should act immediately to close the loophole for ‘associated gas production,’ require regular maintenance and control technologies on compressors, replacement of high bleed pneumatic controls with low or no-bleed pneumatics, flares or vapor recovery units at condensate tanks, as well as apply leak detection and repair technologies where feasible;
- EPA should prepare a federal implementation plan (FIP) to address air pollution on Ute tribal lands in the Uintah, using steps taken in the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation in North Dakota as a strong model for progress; and
- The federal government, as part of a comprehensive methane emissions measurement program, should routinely survey emissions in each producing basin in the United States to measure progress over time.
The task of reducing methane emissions does not fall on regulators alone. “Industry must step up to the plate when it comes to minimizing methane lost to the atmosphere,” said Krupp. “While there are companies that should be commended for trying to get practices and technologies right, it is in all companies’ best interest to prevent the loss of a natural resource escaping into the atmosphere. The public deserves a full accounting of practices that contributed to methane emissions during the time of this study.”
The study in question, “Methane emissions estimate from airborne measurements over a western United States natural gas field,” was published in Geophysical Research Letters.
Useful #fracking fact finder: @NASciences Workshop on Risks of Unconventional Shale Gas Development, May 30-31. Release: The National Research Council will hold a two-day public workshop to discuss the risks related to unconventional shale gas development and management. Academics and field experts will speak about the operational risks of shale gas development as well as its potential effects on water, air, communities, ecosystems, climate change, and public health. A panel discussion and open Q&A session will follow each presentation.
The workshop will run from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. EDT on Thursday, May 30, and from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. EDT on Friday, May 31, in Room 100 of the National Academies’ Keck Center, 500 Fifth St., N.W., Washington, D.C. Those who cannot attend may watch a video webcast atwww.nationalacademies.org.
.@BillMoyers asks Sandra Steingraber tough question about poor farmers & #fracking income. She shifts to discussion of abolition from abomination. The question:
In preparing for this conversation, I read the story of one fellow who’s been working at odd jobs, taking welfare when he must, who’s now expecting a windfall of up to $300,000 a year for the next decade from a lease he signed for fracking with Chevron. Now do you really expect him to turn that down?
Well, once they get to the level of — to the end of the process, where we’re asking a desperate farmer to turn away from looking at the bedrock under his feet as a bank account, you know, as a piñata that could be shattered to make money so he could retire, so he can send his children to college — we’ve failed, right? We’ve failed.
And so I’m far more interested in going upstream and looking at this as a design problem. To say, “All right, so we’ve had our run of fossil fuels. And we’ve become incredibly dependent on them to make stuff for us, right?” So the vinyl siding on your house is made out of natural gas, right.
[An]hydrous ammonia, which is used as synthetic fertilizer in our wheat fields and our corn fields, also made out of natural gas. So we have created an agricultural system that rides a tandem bicycle with the fossil fuel industry. We have created a materials economy and surrounds ourselves with material that are essentially fossils that were exhuming from the earth at a way that is not sustainable. They’re called nonrenewable for a reason.
And so it’s time to engage human ingenuity to do something entirely different.
And that’s where I’m interested in working. Because it seems to me when I look back at history, we have, in the United States, faced other times where our economy was ruinously dependent on some kind of abomination. And of course, slavery would be the one I would use as my example here. Where people had to rise up and say that even though millions of dollars of personal wealth is bound up in slave labor, even though slave labor offered us the lower prices of goods, offered us ability to be competitive in the world market, it’s wrong to do that.
And instead of trying to regulate slavery, control slavery emission rates, have state-of-the-art slavery, we decided to take an abolitionist approach to that.
New @USGS #fracking study: No Contamination from Fayetteville Shale Exploration in Sampled Wells.
Release: A study that examined the water quality of 127 shallow domestic wells in the Fayetteville Shale natural gas production area of Arkansas found no groundwater contamination associated with gas production, according to a report released today by the U.S. Geological Survey.