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Data show home-ownership disparities in North Dakota; Trump reaped over $100 million through fraud, New York says as trial starts; Volunteer water monitors: citizen scientists.

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Donald Trump's civil trial in New York is underway, House Republicans are divided on whether to oust Kevin McCarthy as Speaker, and Latino voter groups are hoping to see mass turnout in the next election.

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A small fire department in rural Indiana is determined not to fail new moms and babies, the growing election denial movement has caused voting districts to change procedures and autumn promises spectacular scenery along America's rural byways.

Report: Capturing Methane Waste is Good Economics

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Wednesday, October 12, 2016   

DENVER - Capturing methane waste at oil and gas operations on national and tribal lands is an opportunity to turn environmental costs into revenues for the oil and gas industry, according to a new report by the Conservation Economics Institute.

Pete Morton, senior economist for the institute, said research shows the Bureau of Land Management's proposed methane-capture rules would be a win-win for operators' bottom lines and taxpayers.

"We hope that policymakers realize that sound environmental policies go hand-in-hand with sound economic policies," he said. "A lot of the conventional wisdom that 'environmental regulations kill jobs' is a false argument."

The Government Accountability Office has estimated that taxpayers lose as much as $23 million a year in royalty revenues from methane waste on public lands.

Industry groups have argued that operators already are cutting emissions and have said new regulations would increase costs by slowing production. The study found that low commodity prices from overproduction, not environmental regulations, are responsible for the industry's current downturn.

Even without government action, Morton said, the industry would benefit by voluntarily reducing waste. He said adopting a third-party certification process, such as the Forest Stewardship Council's guidelines for sustainable wood products, would put positive market forces into play "where companies voluntarily comply with environmental standards that exceed regulations.

"So, there's a whole new market mechanism that would sort of allow companies to voluntarily comply and then be rewarded in the marketplace," he said.

In August, NASA confirmed that a 2,500-square-mile cloud of methane over the Four Corners region largely was attributable to oil and gas production. Morton said the data from the region suggests that stopping waste is not only an economic opportunity waiting to happen for industry, but the public also would benefit from cleaner air and increased tax revenues.

The report is online at media.wix.com.


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