In Plaquemines Parish et al. v. Chevron et al., the U. S. Fifth Circuit has ruled on whether 42 suits brought by six parishes and the Louisiana Attorney General against a number of oil companies belongs in federal court or state court. The allegations are that the companies’ operations over the years essentially destroyed the Louisiana coastal marshes. Billions of dollars are at stake. The immediate issue was whether the defendants’ removal was timely. They were, the result of which is that the cases are likely to remain in federal court.
As the US continues to be more successful in reducing CO2 emissions than the parties to the Paris Climate Accord, those who would do the St. Vitus dance on the grave of the domestic oil and gas industry should consider the risks posed by the alternatives. Here are thoughts from some who know better than…
Gas flaring, especially in the Permian and the Eagle Ford, is coming in hot these days at the Texas Railroad Commission. Presented here are viewpoints from several stakeholders in the discussion. My comments are summaries. For a fuller understanding please read the reports for yourself.
The players are in general agreement on several points:
- There needs to be an end to routine gas flaring.
- Texas flares a lot of gas: About as much annually as all of its residential users combined, or maybe as much as the seven largest cities, or maybe Houston. It depends on who’s talking. Values vary but in the Permian it ranges from $450 Million to $750 Million.
- Progress is being made, plenty for some, not enough for others.
The Texas Methane and Flaring Coalition
These seven trade associations and 40 operators are members of the Railroad Commission’s Blue Ribbon Task Force for Oil Economic Recovery. Their positon, among others:
- More detailed data submissions from operators will result in more effective operational and regulatory decisions that will reduce flaring.
- A proposed flaring matrix (see the report) identifies situations where flaring is necessary and makes recommendations for the application of Rule 32 that will result in overall flaring reductions because of the shortened time frame for administrative approvals.
- Methane emissions from oil and gas systems are down 23 percent since 1990.
- Texas flaring intensity is well below that of comparable countries according to the World Bank.
Last week’s discussion of the Pennsylvania Grand Jury’s report on alleged failures in enforcement of hydraulic fracturing is worthy of a follow-up. Here, combined into one document, is the Grand Jury’s report, the Department of Environmental Protection’s response (beginning on page 112) and the Department of Health’s response (beginning on page 165).
The Grand Jury recommends
Expand no drill zones, stop the “chemical cover-up”, regulate all pipelines, add up the air pollution sources, transport toxic waste more safely, deliver a real public health response, end the “revolving door”, and use the criminal laws.
The DEP responds
The report is unreliable, legally and factually inaccurate, not informed by applicable law or facts, relies on undocumented assertions, “does the public a disservice”, and the Attorney General failed to give the Grand Jurors accurate information. This, from a Democratic governor.
The former Secretary defends the department
A response from Michael Krancer, Secretary of the DEP from 2011 until 2013, says:
There is “new news” and there is the same-old-same-old. Today is mostly the latter but it seems more “out there” than in it used to be.
The Pennsylvania Attorney General convened a grand jury that slammed regulatory failures in Pennsylvania gas drilling and recommended setbacks that would effectively destroy the ability to develop shale resources. …
We read the comments and listened in on portions of the historic April 14 hearing on the proposal that the Commission order market demand prorationing of Texas oil and gas production. Of the 120+ written comments, 51 supported, 59 opposed, 12 were neutral, and several were not clear.
Here is our summary of the comments.* To read them for yourself, go to: https://www.rrc.state.tx.us/general-counsel/open-meetings/comments-received-re-the-rrcs-april-14-2020-open-meeting/
Is the world hurtling irreversibly toward incinerating, extinction-causing, fossil-fuel induced destruction while we’re doing nothing about it? Maybe not, if you consider overlooked and ignored sources of information.
We You will always have Paris
Despite bailing out of the Paris Climate Accord, the United States led the world in reducing CO2 emissions in 2019. …
Co-author Stephen Cooney
Recent legislation in Texas to promote the recycling of water produced from oil and gas operations are steps in the right direction but may create as many problems as they fix. As technology improves, our population continues to grow at an unprecedented pace, and our water supplies remain limited, recycling of water…
That’s a good thing if you like what the EPA is doing, not so much if you are its sworn enemy. In Center for Biological Diversity v. US EPA the plaintiff did not have standing so sue the EPA over the granting of a water discharge permit. The court dismissed the suit and would not resolve the substantive issues.…
Continue Reading Not Everybody Can Sue the EPA
Let’s start with a quiz:
Which of these predictions is most likely to come true:
- Senator Sanders’ “bold” climate action plan will gain traction and become the law of the land.
- Vegan options will be available at the next landman’s dinner meeting.
- As 2020 approaches President Trump will learn his lesson. No more tweets.
- After all these years, your cat will finally respect you.
- LSU will beat Texas on the gridiron.