Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Play

A lawsuit over the funding of Pennsylvania schools is in the hands of a judge, California launches a student loan debt challenge, and texts show former President Trump seeking donations after the FBI raid.

Play

Republicans rally around former President Trump after the FBI searches his home for missing archive documents, President Biden formalizes U.S. support for Finland and Sweden joining NATO, and the FDA expands authorization of the monkeypox vaccine.

Play

People in five rural Kentucky counties are fighting their way back after catastrophic flooding, efforts to preserve Oklahoma's historic buildings in small communities are running up against funding challenges, and more factory-built manufactured homes could help solve the nation's housing shortage.

Report: Utah's Low-Producing Wells Emit Half of Methane Emissions

Play

Tuesday, April 26, 2022   

A new study found low-producing oil and gas wells make up about half the methane emitted from all well sites in the U.S., while accounting for just 6% of the nation's oil and gas production.

Led by the Environmental Defense Fund, the report found an estimated 565,000 low-producing sites making less than 15 barrels of oil per day across the country, with a significant number of them in Utah and across the Mountain West.

Mark Omara, senior analyst for the Environmental Defense Fund and the report's author, said the high amount of methane leaks -- about four-million metric tons annually -- is a major climate concern.

"This matters a great deal because methane, which is the main component of natural gas, is such a powerful greenhouse gas," Omara explained. "With its emissions into the atmosphere packs more than 80 times the global warming effect of carbon dioxide over the first 20 years following emissions."

The Environmental Protection Agency proposed new regulations last year to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the oil and gas industry. The update to the Clean Air Act is aimed at making significant, cost-effective reductions in methane emissions and other air pollutants.

Ben Abbot, assistant professor of environmental science at Brigham Young University, said parts of Utah have some of the worst air pollution in the country, and much of the methane problem can be attributed to small oil and gas operations in the northeast part of the state.

"That is directly responsible for the high concentrations of ozone that have been observed throughout the Uinta Basin, which is pretty rural," Abbot pointed out. "But also, some of that bleeds over into the Wasatch Front, the most populated area in Utah."

Abbott thinks it would be better if the oil companies would clean up their well sites rather than wait for state and federal regulators to force their hands.

"I guess we pick our poison," Abbott stated. "Either we can get our ducks in a row with state-level requirements and clean up the extraction, or the EPA punitive regulations are going to kick into action if these areas can't clean up the pollution."

He added many of the wells in Utah have been abandoned and need to be capped, while those still in production need to capture methane before it leaks into the atmosphere.

Disclosure: The Environmental Defense Fund's Energy Transition Program contributes to our fund for reporting on Climate Change/Air Quality, Energy Policy, Environment, and Public Lands/Wilderness. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


get more stories like this via email
A shortage of affordable housing is seen as one reason for a spike in eviction cases in Virginia. According to the National Low-Income Housing Coalition, the state needs 153,415 affordable rentals for people who are extremely low-income. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

With Virginia's Rent Relief Program ending, a flood of eviction cases has emerged. Established during the pandemic, the program was designed to help …


Environment

As Congress debates a bill to fund climate-change solutions, Pima Community College is doing its own work to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions and …

Social Issues

In the first six months of this year, the U.S. saw a significant jump in foreclosure filings, coinciding with concerns about the pressure inflation …


The Federal Trade Commission warns that scammers often pretend to be from the Social Security Administration and ask to "verify people's taxpayer ID" numbers in an effort to steal their identity. (Stockphotopro/Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

Last year, Americans reported losing a record-breaking $5.8 billion to scams, and now, the State of California and AARP are teaming up to try to …

Social Issues

The state has just launched the California Student Loan Debt Challenge, to let public service employees - like teachers, law enforcement, nurses…

People can wait up to three years to get into affordable housing in Spokane, Wash. (Zach/Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

Washingtonians are feeling the squeeze from high housing prices, but a novel concept launching in Spokane could speed up the creation of affordable …

Social Issues

More officials from South Dakota's health care community are speaking out in support of Medicaid expansion. Voters will decide this fall whether to …

Social Issues

CORRECTION: The $3.7 billion figure represents an increase in education investments during the eight-year Wolf Administration, not the Pennsylvania …

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021