Shout-out to EDF Work on Proposed Oil and Gas Rules

Here is a link to a Denver Post story on new Colorado rules..the reason I’m posting it (other than I suspect oil and gas is not covered well in other places) is to “catch people doing something right.” It seems like a great environmental step forward, so I would like to give a shout-out to the environmental groups who worked on this (assuming as always, that this is reported accurately).

Environment groups, led by the Environmental Defense Fund, helped craft the proposed rules.

“First in the nation, direct regulation of methane from oil and gas production facilities is a big, exciting step forward,” Conservation Colorado director Pete Maysmith said.

Below is the description of the draft regulations.

State health officials rolled out groundbreaking rules for the oil and gas industry Monday to address worsening air pollution, including a requirement that companies control emissions of the greenhouse gas methane, linked to climate change.

The rules would force companies to capture 95 percent of all toxic pollutants and volatile organic compounds they emit.

This would cut overall air pollution by 92,000 tons a year — roughly equivalent to taking every car in the state off the road for a year, state health chief Larry Wolk said. Such reductions could help bring Colorado’s heavily populated Front Range, where smog and ozone are on the rise, back into compliance with federal air quality standards.

No state has adopted rules directly limiting methane emitted by oil and gas operations. Federal government and United Nations authorities are developing rules to try to reduce such emissions because they are a large factor in global warming.

“These are going to amount to the very best air quality regulations in the country,” Gov. John Hickenlooper said.

He credited executives from Anadarko, Encana and Noble Energy — the state’s largest producers — for compromising and helping minimize environmental harm from drilling before the cost implications are fully known.

“They understand it is a shared responsibility,” he said, “and they have really stepped up.”

Under the rules, companies would have to:

• Detect leaks from tanks, pipelines, wells and other facilities using devices such as infrared cameras.

• Inspect for leaks at least once a month at large facilities and plug leaks.

• Adhere to more stringent limits on emissions from equipment near where people live and play.

• Use flare devices to burn off emissions from facilities not connected to pipelines.

Noble Vice President Ted Brown said the prescribed practices are “the right thing to do” but added that “it’s a tough rule.”

He and counterparts from Anadarko and Encana said they support the proposed rules as a way to operate more safely and build public trust.

“Regulatory certainty is important to the company, and doing the right thing also is important to the company,” Encana’s Lem Smith said. Reducing industry air pollution will bring a “quantifiable environmental benefit.”

12 Comments

  1. This echoes some of the sentiments contained in a recent policy report I read from the Center for American Progress. Particularly this statement: “He and counterparts from Anadarko and Encana said they support the proposed rules as a way to operate more safely and build public trust.” I’d like to hope Energy companies are beginning to realize there are many steps that they can take beside this to build public trust. We’ve seen over and over the results that the extractive industry’s boom and bust culture have exacted on our public lands. The report I mentioned confronts this headlong and provides policy recommendations that would go along way toward a more sustainable approach to the recent gas boom that would encourage public trust. You can read the document here:
    http://www.americanprogress.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/EqualGroundReport.pdf
    Thanks for posting Sharon. The topic definitely aligns with my interests.

    • Back during the 2005 planning rule, I hoped that we could require independent audits of the environmental aspects of oil and gas development on public land. We did have a trial audit that identified similar issues as those now being regulated. By now, if we had done that, we probably would have much better information and abatement technologies and better environmental protection for the last 10 years and more possibly better public trust. I remember discussing with the Federal Environmental Executive at CEQ. But here we are 10 years later.. policy has a way of working out if we have a long enough time frame and patience.

      • Not sure what you’re driving at Mr. Skinner. It’s a policy paper. It’s not peer reviewed science. The funding source doesn’t make policy recommendations any less credible. I mean, come on, why not just say it’s from the Center for American Progress (as I stated) which is a progressive think tank? Yes, the policy recommendations are progressive. They are also smart and necessary IMHO.

        • Oh, like the acre of permanent wilderness for every acre of LEASE that may or more likely will not result in much ecofunctional decline given the lovey dovey new regulations?
          Actually, I checked out Equal Ground and it’s about as astroturf as anything I’ve seen, and I know who’s funding this, all tax exempt.
          And I have to laugh a little at David below, ripping on EDF, which is attacking coal plants while “tolerating” petroleum operations (bridge fuel prophylactic strategy). I’m not going to laud EDF except they DID “allow” the oil and gas people to continue to function AND pass the extra costs onto consumers who may or may not be happy to pay for what they “want.”

  2. Sharon,
    Your choice of groups to heap adulation upon couldn’t have been attributed to a more thoroughly-outed corporate front group than EDF. Such adulation serves as a classic demonstration of precisely what local “collaboration” and “partnerships” with recidivist corporate environmental criminals will get us in the absence of adequate governmental regulation of GHGs: the half-measures which will assure the triggering of feedbacks leading to irreversible catastrophic climate change.

    Given the COP19 subterfuge going on in Warsaw as we speak, this post is particularly offensive in its timing.
    (Or perhaps you’re not following those proceedings, or you’ve not read a recent comment referencing the leaked US Delegation memo directing obstruction, “… by strongly resisting the concept of historical responsibility for emissions and positioning itself in opposition to developing countries on the main issues at stake.”?) http://www.ipsnews.net/2013/11/u-s-fights-g77-on-most-counts-at-climate-meet-leaked-doc-shows/

    EDF’s, “Something is better than nothing” corporate greenwashing approach with respect to meaningfully addressing climate change is akin to making a victim comfortable at an accident scene without stopping her severe blood loss.

    On second thought, a more accurate metaphor is negotiating with terrorists demanding an impossibly large sum of money threatening to blow up a school. The deal is, the terrorists get their ransom, a few children are allowed to leave (to illustrate goodwill), and the school, — instead of being blown up– will be burned down with the rest of the children inside.

    Indeed, with the stench of mass death still in the air from Super Typhoon Haiyan, this is what Mary Ann Lucille Sering, the executive director of the Philippines Climate Change Commission had to say:

    “Every time we attend this conference, I’m beginning to feel that we are negotiating on who is to live and who is to die,”
    http://www.democracynow.org/2013/11/20/filipino_climate_chief_it_feel_like

  3. “…IN THIS SPECIFIC CASE, I LIKED THE TACTICS and THOUGHT THE RESULT TO BE VALUABLE. That is not to say that I think EDF is the bee’s knees.”

    Wow, all caps Sharon? Glad you could find humor here, (I guess).

    The following quotes can be safely regarded as “heaping adulation,”(and I would add, to the undeserving.):
    “catch people doing something right.”; “a great environmental step forward”; “give a shout-out to the environmental groups…”

    On the other hand, neither EDF nor its extremely well-funded predilections for “market based solutions” can be regarded as, “the bee’s knees” (defined in Wikipedia as, “Slang for something outstanding or new; a fresh new style.”

    The fact is, there is nothing new about EDF’s “market based solutions.”

    Further, the term “market based solutions” is a PR con. It is neither “market based,” (rather, being clearly based on goals of corporate special interests) nor, does it relate to “solutions” (defined as,”a means of solving a problem.”) Half-measures built upon compromises designed to maintain business as usual and falling short of urgent necessities to dramatically curb GHGs is not a solution, its a greenwashed con designed to make the public think the corporate ploy is a solution to the problem.

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