EPA methane emissions hearings

September 30, 2015

EPA, methane, oil and gas drilling

DENVER,CO - September 23: Protestors rally along Wynkoop St. near 16th Ave on their way to the nearby Environmental Protection Agency offices September 23, 2015. The EPA was holding public meetings on proposed methane level cuts in the oil and gas industry. Photo by Andy Cross/The Denver Post

DENVER, CO – September 23:  Protestors rally along Wynkoop St. near 16th Ave on their way to the nearby Environmental Protection Agency offices September 23, 2015. The EPA was holding public meetings on proposed methane level cuts in the oil and gas industry.  [Photo by Andy Cross/The Denver Post]

On August 18, 2015, EPA released a set of proposed measures to cut methane and VOC emissions from the oil and gas industry and clarify permitting requirements. EPA hearings were held last week, September 23, in Dallas and Denver. The final hearing was in Pittsburgh on September 29.

EPA will take written comments through November 17, 2015. Click here to submit your comment.

Demonstrators demanding clean air greeted EPA officials in all three cities.

DENVER HEARING

As we descended Lookout Mountain on I-70 from the west, around noon on September 23,  it was sunny and mid-80s. The brown cloud spread across the Denver basin as far as the eye could see, which was all the way to “Welled” County. A sorry sight though befitting the topic of the day — oil & gas emissions.

In downtown Denver, four officials from the EPA heard testimony from more than 100 citizens, elected officials, and industry reps. The hearing was conducted on the second floor of the EPA Region 8 building in a classroom, which made for an informal, welcoming atmosphere. Each speaker was allowed 5 minutes.

I was one of the citizens who spoke. All four officials took notes. Click here to read my testimony.

More testimonies:

Wes Wilson urges tighter control of fugitive methane

Karen Dike: Comments made at EPA hearing on Methane Rules. September 23, 2015

Colorado methane hearing draws protests and criticism

DENVER – The Environmental Protection Agency took public comment on new methane regulations at their headquarters, in Denver on Wednesday, while demonstrators spoke and marched just outside. They’re chants demanding clean air and an end to fracking …

EPA faces heat from both sides in push to cut oil and gas pollution
First public hearing on proposed methane rules draws demands for tougher approach, but opposition from industry

Environmental Protection Agency officials pressing ahead on a White House effort to cut air pollution linked to climate change faced a blitz Wednesday during a public hearing in Denver, with residents and elected officials demanding a tougher approach.

But the EPA also faced opponents in the oil and gas industry, arguing that the proposed methane rules are redundant and would raise costs at a time when companies are suffering.

Those rules are designed to cut methane emissions from oil and gas production 40 to 45 percent below 2012 levels before 2025 by requiring new and modified facilities to plug leaks.

Stopping emissions from tens of thousands of existing oil and gas wells — not just new ones, as proposed — “is the central issue,” Lafayette Mayor Christine Berg told the EPA panel of four.

“People have had it with the oil and gas industry creating regulations for themselves,” Berg said later. “We need to find alternatives to fossil fuels” …

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DALLAS HEARING

Activists and citizens pose for a photo shortly after a press conference in Dallas, Texas, at one of three national hearings on the Environmental Protection Agency's proposed rules to reduce fugitive methane emissions from new oil and gas facilities, September 23, 2015. (Photo: Candice Bernd)

Activists and citizens pose for a photo shortly after a press conference in Dallas, Texas, at one of three national hearings on the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed rules to reduce fugitive methane emissions from new oil and gas facilities, September 23, 2015.  [Photo credit:  Candice Bernd]

Report from the EPA methane hearing in Dallas by Texas Sharon

It’s 6:50 PM and the EPA methane hearing panel is taking a break because the speakers are winding down.

So far there have been (I think) 114 speakers and all but 8 support the rules. That makes 106:8 people speaking at the EPA methane hearing who want clean air …

Scientists, Citizens Call for EPA to Strengthen Proposed Methane Emissions Rules
By Candice Bernd, Truthout

… At the EPA’s hearing in Dallas, 114 citizens, activists, scientists and industry representatives commented on the draft rules. The overwhelming majority of commenters spoke in favor of the proposed regulations, with many calling on EPA officials to strengthen the standards. Only eight opposed the rules, a majority of them representing the oil and gas industry.

“[Dallas/Fort Worth] is fracked already,” Zac Trahan, program director with Texas Campaign for the Environment, told EPA regulators at the hearing. “There are an estimated 17,000 gas drilling sites throughout the metroplex, in people’s neighborhoods, less than a football field away from bedrooms where children sleep. So for rules to not cover these existing sources that are venting the majority of the methane pollution and other toxic air pollution … seems to risk appearing ludicrous on its face” …

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PITTSBURGH HEARING

Protesters line up to enter the federal building Downtown for an Environmental Protection Agency hearing testimony would be given on its proposed rule to decrease methane emissions from the oil and gas industry on Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2015. James Knox | Trib Total Media

Protesters line up to enter the federal building Downtown for an Environmental Protection Agency hearing testimony would be given on its proposed rule to decrease methane emissions from the oil and gas industry on Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2015. [Photo by James Knox | Trib Total Media]

EPA officials hear from supporters, opponents of methane emissions rules

The Obama administration’s proposal to cut methane emissions from the oil and gas sector is a “good first step” but won’t address leaks from older wells, environmental advocates and industry opponents told regulators in Pittsburgh on Tuesday …

… “This is using a Band-Aid to stop hemorrhaging,” Patricia DeMarco of Forest Hills said during the hearing the last of three that the agency held nationwide on the proposal. Hearings took place last week in Denver and Dallas …

Final EPA hearing today on proposed regulations to reduce methane emissions for oil and gas industry

More than 150 people representing the gas drilling industry, environmental organizations, faith and community groups or just themselves signed up to speak today in Downtown Pittsburgh at the third and final U.S. Environmental Protection Agency hearing on regulations proposed to reduce oil and gas industry emissions of methane, a potent greenhouse gas …

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EPA will take written comments through November 17, 2015. Click here to submit your comment.

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