HEALTH IMPACT REDUCTION NEEDED ~ Monitoring & Control of Oil & Gas Well Emissions

by admin on January 23, 2022

Oil and gas wells emit pollution via venting, flaring and leaking

Stop Fracking Pollution Next to Children, Homes & Schools

>>> Appeal of Ranjana Bhandari, Liveable Arlington (Texas), January 20, 2022

Hello to the Concerned Citizens of the United States,

My name is Ranjana Bhandari. I founded the group Liveable Arlington 7 years ago to protect children from the health impacts of urban fracking in our community.

Here in Arlington, TX over 30,000 kids go to public school within half a mile of gas wells. There are nearly 400 wells in our town as a result of the reckless Texas fracking boom, and thousands more in the surrounding Dallas Fort Worth metroplex.

There is no regular air monitoring for toxic pollutants like Benzene, despite the region having notoriously bad air quality and high childhood asthma rates, with one in five children in Tarrant County suffering from childhood asthma. The state environmental agency rarely enforces pollution rules, instead protecting the industry’s ability to extract fracked gas near homes, schools, and medical centers. The health and economic costs of all of this is disproportionately borne by communities of color. In our very diverse community, fracking is an environmental justice issue.

Just last month we stopped the French fracking giant Total from drilling three new gas wells right next to a preschool, but it took a lot to kill one permit. We organized for over two years and filed a lawsuit against the city to stop the permit for the gas wells. And we know more drilling permits are coming.

My community needs the EPA to step in and create strong methane standards because state and local officials continue to fail to protect children and residents from harmful fracking pollution. These standards will require more monitoring, make it more difficult for companies to pollute our neighborhoods, and potentially give community members greater power to monitor pollution emitted by gas wells.

That’s why I’m asking you to help communities like Arlington (and those in OH, PA, & WV) by writing a comment to the EPA and asking them to create strong methane standards.

TAKE ACTION ~ Comments will be accepted until January 31. Please don’t delay!

I know many of you have already taken action. If you have, thank you so much for helping us cut methane pollution. Please share this message with others in your networks so they can take action too.

If you’d like to join our discussion and help us mobilize comments, we set up a #methane-rule channel in the network.

If you haven’t taken action yet, then please click here to join me in submitting a comment.

Thank you, Ranjana Bhandari, Liveable Arlington


Dear Friends of Clean Air in Ohio, Pennsylvania & West Virginia

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has formally proposed the first-ever federal methane control standards for all existing oil and gas sites. According to the EPA, methane pollution contributes to a full third of the climate chaos we’re currently experiencing, and the oil and gas industry is the single largest source of methane pollution in the U.S.

Methane is up to 87 times more potent at trapping heat in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide over a 20-year period.

The EPA is projecting that its pollution standard will create $4.5 billion in climate benefits annually while reducing 41 million tons of methane pollution by 2035. Even so, Clean Air Council believes this rule could be significantly improved, and EPA is specifically requesting comment on a few key areas of the rule.

Click here to make an official comment on this vital pollution standard.

>> Sincerely, Joseph Otis Minott, Esq., Executive Director and Chief Counsel, Clean Air Council

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Michael Booth January 27, 2022 at 12:36 pm

West Elk mine cannot leak methane, must flare the greenhouse gas, judge rules

>>> From Michael Booth, Colorado Sun, January 27, 2022

Environmental coalition hails burning methane as a big improvement over leaking it into atmosphere at the North Fork area dig owned by Arch Resources.

The West Elk coal mine must keep flaring dangerous methane and seek state air pollution permits instead of leaking the greenhouse gas into the atmosphere, in a consent decree hailed by environmental groups across Colorado.

Though burning the methane on-site near Somerset creates CO2, it causes far less damage to the atmosphere than allowing raw methane to rise and produce more than 80 times the greenhouse effect of carbon, those groups say. The West Elk mine, operated by Arch Resources subsidiary Mountain Coal, is one of the largest industrial sources of CO2 damage in Colorado.

“Flaring is great,” said Chris Caskey, a former board member of the Western Slope Conservation Center and manager of flaring operations for another closed mine in the North Fork area. “Methane is so much more potent as a greenhouse gas than CO2. And there’s additional other hydrocarbons in there that are nasty and getting those burned is useful as well.”

“It should reduce emissions by 99%, if not more,” said Jeremy Nichols of WildEarth Guardians.

Nichols’ group was part of the coalition that filed a 2020 lawsuit against Mountain Coal demanding it seek Clean Air Act permits for activities and leaks at the mine. The consent decree signed by a federal judge requires West Elk to continue flaring for at least two years while it seeks final air pollution permits for all its activities.

“We need to get them to shut down entirely, and that’s what we’re aiming for,” Nichols said. “It’s really important to get these concessions in the near term, to have a practical impact.”

Others in the coalition were the Sierra Club, High Country Conservation Advocates and the Center for Biological Diversity.

Mountain Coal and Arch Resources did not return emails and phone messages seeking comment.

West Elk “emitted more than 312,000 tons of carbon dioxide in 2020,” equal to annual emissions from 68,000 cars, the Center for Biological Diversity said. Methane also adds to the creation of local volatile organic compounds, which create ground level ozone irritating residents in Paonia and elsewhere in the North Fork Valley.

Digging out underground coal disturbs methane and other gases embedded in layers of carbon resources.

“The joke is that coal mining is the most effective method of fracking,” Caskey said.

Methane releases continue for decades after mines are closed up. West Elk mines currently, and must vent gas to protect miners. But it also has extensive older shafts that are vented through wells drilled from the surface.

Caskey manages a methane capture-and-burn operation at another nearby mine, Elk Creek, that generates electricity for Holy Cross Energy and Aspen Skiing Co. West Elk’s methane venting is too dispersed, and its location too isolated from possible generating facilities, to be burned in any way other than flaring, Caskey said.

“We’d love to see it used,” Caskey said, “but flaring it is a great outcome.”


Jeremy Nichols January 27, 2022 at 12:41 pm

— Jeremy Nichols of WildEarth Guardians celebrates because … (1/27/22)

Did you hear a cheer? It was probably environmental groups. A federal judge signed a consent decree requiring West Elk mine for at least two years to continue flaring dangerous methane instead of leaking the greenhouse gas into the atmosphere, Michael Booth reports. Environmental groups say burning the methane causes far less damage than allowing raw methane to rise, which produces more than 80 times the greenhouse effect of carbon. The Center for Biological Diversity said the amount of carbon dioxide emitted from the mine is equivalent to the output of 68,000 cars.

The Anthracite Mountains are near Gunnison. The Gunnison Valley through which the Gunnison River flows is bordered by the Anthracite Range and West Elk Mountains to the north and the Collegiate Range to the east.

“This should reduce emissions by 99%, if not more.”


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