Colorado Leads the Way on Methane Emission Reductions


Categorized in: Colorado, NAAQS

If anyone ever tells you that Colorado doesn’t sufficiently regulate energy operations, tell them that they are wrong.

Case in point: Colorado leads the way in methane emissions regulation and oversight.

On May 12, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency finalized its first-ever methane reduction rules. This one-size-fits all national regulation is overreaching—but this should be a moot point in Colorado. Since 2014, Colorado energy companies have been operating under strict methane reduction mandates. Colorado’s emissions regulations actually exceed the EPA’s new rules.

The energy industry already has a natural financial incentive to capture methane, which is the main component of natural gas. In Colorado, the industry has spent an estimated $40 million to comply with the state’s methane emission rules. This cost includes purchasing special equipment, such as infrared cameras, to detect leaks and adding compliance personnel.

Nationally, methane emissions have fallen over the last decade even as natural gas production has increased dramatically. This progress suggests that new layers of costly regulations are unnecessary.

At the very least, Colorado energy companies—and regulators—should be exempted from having the burden of duplicative federal red tape. On this point, Will Allison, director of the Air Pollution Control Division of the Colorado Department of Public Health similarly stated, “It’s important that we reduce any duplication or inefficiencies that might accrue with the implementation of the federal rules.”

Wisconsin joins lawsuit against EPA methane rules


Categorized in: NAAQS, Wisconsin

Wisconsin has joined with 12 other states to file a lawsuit that would block the EPA’s new rules to limit methane emissions from oil and natural gas production.

Here is part of what West Virginia (another participant in the court action) Attorney General Patrick Morrisey said about the rules:

The rules are a solution in search of a problem and ignore the industry’s success in voluntarily reducing methane emissions from these sources to a 30-year low.

When the methane rules were announced last spring, the American Petroleum Institute expressed concerns that they might actually result in increased GHG emissions:

It doesn’t make sense that the administration would add unreasonable and overly burdensome regulations when the industry is already leading the way in reducing emissions. Imposing a one-size-fits-all scheme on the industry could actually stifle innovation and discourage investments in new technologies that could serve to further reduce emissions.

Energy Citizens applauds Wisconsin’s part in this effort.

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House Deals Ozone Rules a Setback

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Categorized in: NAAQS, Virginia

In some good news from Washington, the House of Representatives recently passed legislation that would delay the strict new ozone standards proposed by the Obama Administration. The Free Lance Star reports:

The bill, approved 234-177, would delay implementation of a new federal ozone standard by at least eight years. In the Senate, approval of the bill as a stand-alone measure is considered unlikely. Proponents said they may try to insert the ozone proposal into a broader energy bill stalled in the Senate.

As a previous Energy Citizens blog explained, the ozone rules (known as the National Ambient Air Quality Standards, or NAAQS) could have a huge impact on our economy:

That February 2015 posting referenced research that estimated new NAAQS could be the single most costly regulation ever imposed on the American people. The numbers were frightening…

  • NAAQS could shrink the U.S. economy by $270 billion each year—or by $3.4 trillion from 2017-2040.
  • NAAQS could eliminate the equivalent of 2.9 million full-time jobs every year.
  • NAAQS could drain $1,570 per American household in the form of lost consumption.

While the final rule EPA issued later in 2015 was not as onerous as first feared, the final 70 ppb standards will impact business and frankly will provide little, if any, benefit. This bill would provide a pause to allow states to improve air quality in a common-sense way, without unduly burdensome regulations. Let’s hope that our senators see the problems with this costly rule and support this legislation that would allow the sensible implementation of the standards.

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North Carolina legislator urges Obama to back off on ozone rule change

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Categorized in: NAAQS, North Carolina, Ozone

The Obama Administration’s plan to tighten the NAAQS ozone standard has drawn considerable fire from politicians and business groups in urban and racial minority communities, because of the severe damage it would do to the economy and job creation. North Carolina State Representative Rosa Gill, a Democrat and member of the N.C. Legislative Black Caucus has written to the President to voice her concerns. Here is part of what she had to say:

The minority and disadvantaged population in my district is especially grateful for President Obama’s tireless efforts on their behalf.  So you’ll understand why I’m concerned that the newly proposed air quality standards would act as a drag on the long awaited recovery my constituents are now enjoying.

A study conducted on behalf of the National Association of Manufacturers estimates that lowering the ozone standard would reduce the North Carolina Gross State Product by $42 billion over 20 years and cut state employment opportunities by 13,457 jobs or job equivalents per year.

Energy Citizens agrees with Rep. Gill. Lowering the ozone standard is a poor plan that would really hurt many people in North Carolina. If you think so too, contact the President and tell him so.

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Governor Snyder Speaks Out on Ozone NAAQS

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Categorized in: Michigan, NAAQS, Ozone

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder recently sent a letter to President Obama urging a reevaluation of the EPA’s proposal to impose tighter regulations on ozone as part of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS). Governor Snyder writes:

“The proposed change fails to acknowledge the gains in human health and air quality from regulatory actions already in play and does not take into account that imposing more stringent standards could slow reductions in ozone and thwart growth in business investment. An antiquated law is driving this proposal, not uncontested scientific evidence.”

Governor Snyder also provided the President with a technical response to the proposed ozone rule from Michigan’s Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ). In this response, the MDEQ notes that the new ozone rule could have the unintended consequence of impairing the state’s ability to comply with other EPA rules. For instance, the ozone rule could prevent the siting of new natural gas power plants—and without these plants, Michigan may not be able to comply with the EPA’s Clean Power Plan (CPP) or Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR).

While Michigan is raising justifiable concerns about the ozone NAAQS proposal, the state has worked hard to meet NAAQS regulations. Earlier this year, the EPA reported that Michigan was fully meeting new requirements for small and large particulate matter (PM). Through advances in technology and investments by industry and citizens, Michigan air quality has improved in recent years.

Current NAAQS rules for ozone have also led to improved air quality, but investments and progress could be disrupted by new restrictions and regulatory uncertainty. As Governor Snyder writes…

“In an uncertain regulatory environment, businesses often will defer investments if they are unsure their investments will comply with future regulations. With less economic optimism, energy-efficient investments by businesses and purchases of more environmentally-friendly appliances and motor vehicles by consumers may be delayed, causing a counterproductive result.”

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Can Wisconsin afford the new ozone regulations?

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Categorized in: NAAQS, Wisconsin

Wisconsin Blog

The EPA has proposed extremely harsh revisions to ozone regulations as a result of their five-year review of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS). These sweeping changes would affect every state, including Wisconsin.

We could experience a $30 billion reduction of Gross State Product in just over 20 years if the EPA imposes the toughest standards it is considering. Annual employment opportunities in Wisconsin could decline by 24,421 “job equivalents” each year and drivers could pay a total of $1 billion more to own and operate their cars. Individual Wisconsin families could see their purchasing power drop by $580 a year.

These are all figures taken from a study commissioned by the National Association of Manufacturers. And this is not the only group dismayed by this legislative overreach. Environmental experts, businesses, and consumer groups are not only expressing outrage at the costs associated with new ozone regulations, but are also pointing out that no scientific studies indicate that such ridiculously stringent ozone limits would do anything to make us healthier.

You can look at the complete NAM study here, it details state-by-state impacts and also the overall effect a revised regulation could have on our nation— including a $270 billion annual drop in GDP and the elimination of millions of American jobs.

If you are as unhappy as we are with the prospect of this bureaucratic catastrophe, join Energy Citizens in telling the EPA to take a different path.

 

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Illinois struggles to meet existing ozone standard while tighter one is on the way

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Categorized in: Illinois, NAAQS, Ozone

Like many other states, Illinois still has not attained full compliance with the ozone standards established by the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 2008. The Illinois EPA is hoping that drought conditions recorded in 2012 will give them an extra year to comply, but what will they do if the EPA follows through with their plan to lower the ozone standard even further?

That’s what a lot of people in Illinois and around the nation want to know. Reducing the ozone standard from the current 75 ppb threshold to 65 ppb (or even lower) could throw vast areas of the U.S. into non-compliance, with potentially devastating economic results.

The proposed lower ozone limit could reduce Illinois GSP by $229 billion, and eliminate 186,000 jobs and job equivalents.

Speaking to the Granite City Chamber of Commerce about this, Illinois EPA Quality Planning Manager David Bloomberg said that Illinois’ ozone levels are going down, along with other air pollutants. That’s the same story found in other states. The existing EPA ozone standard is doing its job, even though many regions have yet to achieve compliance.

The EPA is not required to lower the existing ozone standard. Send them an email and ask them to keep current standards in place.

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Can Wisconsin afford the new ozone regulations?

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Categorized in: NAAQS, States, Wisconsin

WI Impacts

The EPA has proposed extremely harsh revisions to ozone regulations as a result of their five-year review of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS). These sweeping changes would affect every state, including Wisconsin.

We could experience a $56 billion reduction of Gross State Product in just over 20 years if the EPA imposes the toughest standards it is considering. Annual employment opportunities in Wisconsin could decline by 52,000 “job equivalents” each year and drivers could pay a total of $3.1 billion more to own and operate their cars. Individual Wisconsin families could see their purchasing power drop by $1,180 a year.

These are all figures taken from a study commissioned by the National Association of Manufacturers. And this is not the only group dismayed by this legislative overreach. Environmental experts, businesses, and consumer groups are not only expressing outrage at the costs associated with new ozone regulations, but are also pointing out that no scientific studies indicate that such ridiculously stringent ozone limits would do anything to make us healthier.

You can look at the complete NAM study here, it details state-by-state impacts and also the overall effect a revised regulation could have on our nation— including a $270 billion annual drop in GDP and the elimination of millions of American jobs.

If you are as unhappy as we are with the prospect of this bureaucratic catastrophe, join Energy Citizens in telling the EPA to take a different path.

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What are they thinking?

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Categorized in: NAAQS, National, Natural Gas

If you haven’t submitted a comment to the EPA to stop what could be the most expensive federal regulation in history—Today is your last chance!

Send the EPA an unmistakable message: this ozone regulation is wrong for America! 

This is our final opportunity to tell the EPA that we oppose the changes they want to make to federal ozone regulations. Tomorrow, the EPA’s comment period closes.

The proposed restrictions could costs consumers, communities, and businesses billions of dollars; so much so, in fact, that this NAAQS ozone regulation could be the single most expensive government regulation ever!

We have just 24 hours to act. The scientific evidence shows that the EPA is not required to make this change, and they might back down if enough of us stand up and say no to this regulatory overreach!

Thanks for helping!

The Energy Citizens Team

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Pop Quiz: Yellowstone out of compliance?

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Categorized in: Minnesota, NAAQS, National, Wisconsin

President Obama’s EPA is toying with the idea of dramatically tightening ozone regulations across the country. If they succeed, the vast majority of the United States would immediately be in violation of the regulations and could be subject to economic growth freezes and other costly repercussions.

So here’s the question for you: If the EPA arbitrarily adjusts the acceptable levels for ozone to 65 ppb, which of the following areas would be guaranteed to pass?

NAAQS Quiz

If you guessed “none of these,” you’d be correct. None of these areas would be guaranteed to pass—not Yellowstone National Park, not New York City, not Kansas wheat fields, or San Francisco, California. The EPA can’t be serious…except they are.

Until March 17, we have the chance to offer public comment on the EPA’s draft ozone regulations. We need to take this opportunity to stand up for common sense.

It’s not rocket science. If the EPA’s standard of clean air perfection would put Yellowstone National Park in the “nonattainment” category, don’t you think the problem is with their standards, not our air?

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