Category Archives: ABOUT CURED

Methane Waste and Prevention Rule

Methane Waste and Prevention Rule

In November of 2016, The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) published its final rule that intended to limit the loss of methane through venting, flaring or leaks of natural gas from oil and gas production on public and Indian lands. Some provisions were to go into effect in January 2017 and others in January 2018. The BLM’s new rule postpones those provisions and suspends others already in effect until January 17, 2019. It will mean another year where taxpayers lose out on significant royalties from natural gas waste.

Designed to reduce natural gas waste, this rule would also achieve lower greenhouse gas emissions from oil and gas production, while providing “a fair return on public resources for federal taxpayers” by requiring operators to pay royalties on wasted gas. The BLM estimates the rule could save enough methane to supply around 740,000 households each year.

By January 2019 deadline, the BLM intends to make substantial changes to the 2016 methane rule, curtailing its ability to reduce wasteful production practices on federal lands.

 

 

 

 

 

 

American Lung Association

Flannery: Unhealthy air underlines need for more action to cut emissions

Mar 17, 2017 Updated Mar 19, 2017, Casper Star Tribune

 Wyoming has worked hard to improve air quality in its Upper Green River Basin since an oil and gas boom led to smog levels that at times gave this rural area pollution levels that matched Los Angeles.

Gov. Mead’s administration has worked to secure nationally leading rules in the basin that have helped limit emissions and improve quality of life for those living near oil and gas facilities.

But this winter, after more than five years without an exceedance, spiking smog levels are back, leading to a dozen ozone action days in the Pinedale area.

These are days when the air quality is forecast to reach unhealthy levels, leading local oil and gas operators to launch contingency plans to reduce emissions and local residents to ask for more action to protect their air. It underlines the need for continued vigilance from state and federal policy makers to further cut emissions and continue to protect the health of local residents.

Improving Wyoming’s state rules will help, and in that regard we are pleased that the state Department of Environmental Quality has already begun to collect information on a phase two approach to build on the Mead administration’s earlier efforts and continue to reduce emissions.

In comments filed with DEQ, the American Lung Association advocated for a number of sensible approaches to reduce emissions including requiring leak inspections on all oil and gas wells. These latest pollution readings add urgency to the state’s long planned phase two effort.

And while Wyoming deserves credit for continuing to be proactive on this issue, unfortunately its senators in Washington, John Barrasso and Mike Enzi, are running in the opposite direction, leading an effort to roll back national rules that could help stop pollution, reduce gas waste and clean up Pinedale’s air.

These senators should consider the unhealthy air their constituents are breathing before they vote to abolish these protections – protections that recent polling found 87 percent of voters in Wyoming support.

Similarly, a substantial majority of Americans support upholding more protective limits on smog pollution, according to separate poll results that the American Lung Association recently released.

The Bureau of Land Management methane waste rule that these senators oppose would help further reduce Pinedale’s pollution since it targets gas leaks on federal lands, where the majority of production in the UGRB takes place. The BLM rule is based on Wyoming’s state rules in the UGRB, but it drives for further emissions reductions in a few key areas including requiring regular leak inspections on all oil and gas wells, even smaller sites that are currently exempted from Wyoming’s state rule. That is because while some wells may be smaller in terms of production, they can still be large sources of hydrocarbon pollution.

And further afield, as Wyoming oil and gas development bounces back from the recent downturn, we continue to believe stronger statewide requirements for new and existing wells, including frequent leak inspections, remain in order to prevent flare ups of unhealthy pollution levels elsewhere in the Cowboy State.

Pinedale’s recent unhealthy pollution readings dictate that a hand in glove approach that includes smart federal and state protections are needed to continue to clean up the air locally and across Wyoming. ALA will continue to work in the months ahead to defend the BLM rule and other public health protections, to improve state rules in the UGRB and to support statewide rules that extend smart pollution controls across the Wyoming. Efforts to reduce these emissions reduce waste, protect the health of local communities and level the playing field for industry – sensible efforts that the vast majority of Wyoming voters, and their elected representatives, can and should support.

 Ronni Flannery is healthy air director for the American Lung Association in Wyoming.

 

 

 

 

TWS News on methane ruling, November 2016

The Wilderness Society http://bit.ly/2frYsOM applauds the Department of the Interior and the Bureau of Land Management for finalizing their natural gas waste rule today. The rule will help clean up oil and gas operations by reducing the amount of natural gas that companies intentionally release into the air and requiring them to detect and fix gas leaks.

In response to the Department of the Interior’s announcement today of the final rule, The Wilderness Society is releasing the following statement from Josh Mantell, energy and climate campaign manager:

“These guidelines will reduce the unnecessary and capricious waste of American energy. Public resources must be used for the public good, and this rule will put in place standards to ensure taxpayers are seeing their fair share.

“BLM’s wasted gas rule will have the added benefits of reducing both harmful air pollution and powerful emissions like methane that contribute to climate change.

“The Obama administration has been working diligently to ensure that when energy development does occur it is done safely, responsibly and in the right places—with consideration of the importance our public lands hold for the American people, as well as their impact on the climate. This rule is an important component of the administration’s substantial legacy in modernizing development on federal lands.

“We look forward to helping make sure the rule is fully implemented and enforced to have the maximum positive effects for our shared lands and resources.”

OZONE TIMELINE

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The above Ozone Timeline will be updated soon to reflect changes in 2017.

ozone 2017 winter

The above graph shows ozone trends during the 2017 winter ozone season. The dates range from January 1, 2017 to March 22, 2017. During the third week in March, Sublette County lost a great deal of snow pack due to high temperatures.

Twelve ozone action days have been issued this year by the Air Quality Division of the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality. Four of those having ozone levels exceeding environmental standard of an 8-hour 70 ppb level.

Chart was taken from http://www.wyvisnet.com

STAY UP TO DATE

Ozone Standards Implementation Act” (H.R. 4775, S. 2882)

CURED submitted the following comments on June 2, 2016

Dear Representatives Barrasso, Enzi and Lummis,

Our non-profit group is based in Pinedale, Wyoming. We have experienced firsthand, ozone exceedances in our county. Though we have had several years without exceedances, we know that this is a function of less drilling, and mild winters.

On behalf of our members, CURED urges you to oppose the “Ozone Standards Implementation Act” (H.R. 4775, S. 2882). The innocuous-sounding name is misleading: this legislation would actually systematically weaken the Clean Air Act without a single improvement, eliminate Americans’ 46-year right to healthy air based on medical science, and delay life-saving health standards already years overdue.

This bill’s vision of “Ozone Standards Implementation” eliminates health benefits and the right to truly safe air that Americans enjoy under today’s law. First, the legislation would delay for eight years the right to safer air quality, and even the simple right to know if the air is safe to breathe. Corporations applying for air pollution permits would be free to ignore new ground- level ozone (aka smog) health standards during these additional eight years. For the first time the largest sources of air pollution would be allowed to exceed health standards. The bill would also outright excuse the parts of the country suffering the worst smog pollution from having backup plans if they do not reduce pollution. The most polluted parts of the country should not stop doing everything they can to protect their citizens’ health and environment by cleaning up smog pollution.

This bill is not content to merely weaken and delay reductions in smog pollution. It also strikes at our core right to clean air based on health and medical science. The medically-based health standards that the law has been founded on for 46 years instead would become a political football dictated by polluter compliance costs. This will mean unhealthy levels of smog and soot and sulfur dioxide and even toxic lead pollution. The bill would also double the law’s five-year review periods for recognizing the latest science and updating health standards, which are already frequently years late; this means in practice that unhealthy air would persist for longer than ten years.

The legislation also weakens implementation of current clean air health standards. The bill expands exemptions for “exceptional events” that are not counted towards compliance with health standards for air quality, even when air pollution levels are unsafe. This will mean more unsafe air more often, with no responsibility to clean it up. Requirements meant to ensure progress toward reducing smog and soot pollution would shift from focusing on public health and achievability to economic costs. Despite the bland name “Ozone Standards Implementation Act,” this bill represents an extreme attack on the most fundamental safeguards and rights in the Clean Air Act.

Since 1970, the Federal Clean Air Act has been organized around one governing principle—that the EPA must set health standards based on medical science for dangerous air pollution, including smog, soot and lead, that protect all Americans, with “an adequate margin of safety” for vulnerable populations like children, the elderly and asthmatics. This legislation eviscerates that principle and protection. We urge you to oppose H.R. 4775 and S. 2882, to protect our families and Americans’ rights to clean air.

Sincerely,

Dottie Bentley, Chair