An amendment to the Keystone XL Bill aims to eliminate the corn ethanol mandate in the Renewable Fuel Standard. On January 16, 2015, Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Pat Toomey (R-PA) introduced the “Corn Ethanol Mandate Elimination Act of 2015” as an amendment to the Keystone XL Pipeline Act (S1) introduced on January 6. The… Keep reading →
Gasoline prices have been falling steadily for months. Now a gallon may be purchased for substantially less than three dollars in many regions of the country. That’s welcome news for consumers, but environmentalists, regulators and first responders have been asking whether there are risks associated with this happy development that may not be obvious and which should be addressed.
A rising chorus of companies in the oil & gas services sector are adding their voices to the majority of Americans who think it’s a smart idea to limit vast waste of methane taking place every day in the nation’s the oil and gas operations. These companies in the methane mitigation industry are experts in… Keep reading →
The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), which manages 90 percent of Texas’ electric grid, has been busy. In the last two months of 2014, the agency released two very lengthy reports examining the future of a lower-polluting power grid in light of upcoming EPA clean air protections, in particular the Clean Power Plan. As… Keep reading →
Carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) is a fledgling technology still mostly relegated to demonstration projects in the U.S. and other parts of the globe. While not yet commercialized, its prospects of putting coal-fired plants on the same footing with natural gas facilities – from a carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions perspective – gives it an innovative… Keep reading →
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently proposed revising the national air quality standard for ozone, the key pollutant in smog and regional haze. EPA acknowledges that the rule will cost billions of dollars each year to implement. Industry fears the additional regulatory costs, and environmentalists assert the rule does not restrict ozone enough. Select jurisdictions with high levels of background ozone, particularly Western states, will find it more difficult to reach attainment, and current mechanisms to account for naturally-occurring ozone spikes may prove inadequate. Republican leaders in the House and Senate have signaled their intention to oppose the rule in legislation. The EPA must navigate these complex issues as it prepares to finalize the rule by October 1, 2015.
Ed. note: This is a new weekly column by Elie Mystal, Managing Editor of Above the Law Redline. This space will focus on the laws that exist, should exist, and should be put out of their misery. UNDER-REGULATED Ancient Aliens: Here’s a dirty secret, I watch Ancient Aliens all the time. Yes, I know that… Keep reading →
We all want easy answers. And often times the harder the question, the easier we want the answer to be. Increased natural gas use, for example, can help decrease U.S. greenhouse gas emissions as it has a lower carbon content compared to coal or oil. Natural gas also can help transition our energy mix to… Keep reading →
Even more can be done without too much pain US energy-related CO2 emissions have declined in 5 of the past 8 years, almost without trying very hard, mostly due to reductions in the electric power sector. Current trends, including lower energy demand growth rates (graph below), continued substitution of gas for coal and increasing the share… Keep reading →
How much does the design of America’s energy market affect the environment? More than one might expect. Last week, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the agency responsible for regulating the wholesale natural gas and electricity markets, issued a proposed policy statement designed to encourage pipeline operators to replace their leakiest equipment: compressor stations. Reciprocating compressors are… Keep reading →