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Uncovering America's methamphetamine history; PA Early Intervention programs vital for child development; measuring long-term impact of the O.J. Simpson trial on media literacy.

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President Biden's name could be left off the ballot in Alabama and Ohio, the Justice Dept. mandates background checks for gun show purchases, and Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds moves to allow state police to arrest undocumented migrants.

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Housing advocates fear rural low-income folks who live in aging USDA housing could be forced out, small towns are eligible for grants to enhance civic participation, and North Carolina's small and Black-owned farms are helped by new wind and solar revenues.

Governor at odds with methane rule built on WY air pollution protections

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Monday, December 18, 2023   

Gov. Mark Gordon has blasted the Biden administration's final methane rule, claiming it will lead to higher fuel prices and put additional burdens on Wyoming oil and gas producers.

John Burrows, director of energy and climate policy for the Wyoming Outdoor Council, said the public health benefits of the rule are significant.

The move to reduce toxic air pollution produced at oil and gas facilities will be equivalent to taking 28 million gas-powered cars off the road.

"So we're talking about volatile organic compounds that create really nasty chemicals for people to inhale," said Burrows. "And unfortunately those do have health impacts, especially for those most vulnerable populations. And this rule is going to clean a lot of that up."

The new Environmental Protection Agency rule, which calls on operators to find and plug leaks and limit flaring, builds on successful protections Wyoming pioneered in its efforts to improve air quality in the Upper Green River Basin.

Methane, the primary component of natural gas, is over 80 times more potent than CO2 at trapping heat in the atmosphere.

States have two years to submit their emission plans to the EPA.

Katherine Stahl, a community organizer with the Powder River Basin Resource Council, conceded that any new regulation brings some costs.

But she noted that Gov. Gordon rejected federal funds meant to reimburse operators who find and plug leaks.

If methane is kept in pipelines and holding tanks, she said more gas can be brought to market.

"More gas going to market reduces the cost that consumers will pay, because supply will be higher," said Stahl. "And it increases revenue for operators that otherwise would be just burning what is a valuable resource."

Burrows said he believes that reducing methane waste will help Wyoming taxpayers get more value for developing their non-renewable resources -- and bring additional revenues needed to fund schools, roads and other essential operations.

"Across U.S. public and tribal lands there's over $500 million of wasted gas," said Burrows. "And in Wyoming we're talking somewhere between $9 and $16 million in lost revenues specifically to Wyoming taxpayers."




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