EPA methane emission methods questioned

Two Republican senators urged the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to reconsider its methods of calculating methane emissions from natural gas operations.

12/06/2013


Two Republican senators urged the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to reconsider its methods of calculating methane emissions from natural gas operations.

Sens. David Vitter (R-LA) and James Inhofe (R-OK) praised a report released in September that said some parts of the gas production process actually emit less methane than EPA estimated. The study also noted the leaks from pneumatic controllers involved higher methane emissions than EPA estimates, saying they need to do more study on the subject. The comments came during a hearing of a subcommittee on oversight of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works on Nov. 5 in Washington, DC.

The Environmental Defense Fund and nine gas operators funded the ongoing study, which measured actual emissions from 190 wells instead of relying on computer models as does the EPA.

A report outlining first-phase results of a University of Texas study concluded the methane emissions from operations associated with gas production overall is 10% less than the EPA estimates.

University of Texas chemical engineering professor David Allen and other researchers measured methane emissions from shale gas wells completed using hydraulic fracturing. Initial study results involved only the gas extraction phase, Allen testified at the subcommittee hearing.

EPA representative Sarah Durham told Vitter and Inhofe that she could not answer their questions yet about whether the UT study would alter EPA’s estimates or change EPA methods of estimating greenhouse gases. She would only say the EPA was reviewing and evaluating the study.

Durham, director of the Office of Atmospheric Programs within the EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation, also said she could not directly answer questions about the study’s impact on future GHG emission regulations, saying she was not associated with the regulatory branch of the EPA.

Other subcommittee witnesses included Mark K. Boling, general counsel for Southwestern Energy Co., and Darren Smith, environmental manager for Devon Energy Corp.

Smith said the UT study confirmed what Devon has been telling the EPA for some time.

“Immediate action is vital because the EPA estimates have been relied upon by researchers, financial analysts, and various policy makers as a basis for critical public policy considerations,” Smith said.

“In fact, a recently finalized EPA regulation on the oil and gas sector was justified using this inaccurate data,” Smith said. “Equally troubling, a group of Northeastern states is threatening to sue the EPA if it doesn’t propose additional emissions regulations on the sector, in light of the agency’s use of flawed data. EPA must immediately revise its data to more accurately reflect emissions associated with this source category, before further harm is done.”



No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2013 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Leaders Under 40 program features outstanding young people who are making a difference in manufacturing. View the 2013 Leaders here.
The new control room: It's got all the bells and whistles - and alarms, too; Remote maintenance; Specifying VFDs
2014 forecast issue: To serve and to manufacture - Veterans will bring skill and discipline to the plant floor if we can find a way to get them there.
2013 Top Plant: Lincoln Electric Company, Cleveland, Ohio
Case Study Database

Case Study Database

Get more exposure for your case study by uploading it to the Plant Engineering case study database, where end-users can identify relevant solutions and explore what the experts are doing to effectively implement a variety of technology and productivity related projects.

These case studies provide examples of how knowledgeable solution providers have used technology, processes and people to create effective and successful implementations in real-world situations. Case studies can be completed by filling out a simple online form where you can outline the project title, abstract, and full story in 1500 words or less; upload photos, videos and a logo.

Click here to visit the Case Study Database and upload your case study.

Bring focus to PLC programming: 5 things to avoid in putting your system together; Managing the DCS upgrade; PLM upgrade: a step-by-step approach
Balancing the bagging triangle; PID tuning improves process efficiency; Standardizing control room HMIs
Commissioning electrical systems in mission critical facilities; Anticipating the Smart Grid; Mitigating arc flash hazards in medium-voltage switchgear; Comparing generator sizing software

Annual Salary Survey

Participate in the 2013 Salary Survey

In a year when manufacturing continued to lead the economic rebound, it makes sense that plant manager bonuses rebounded. Plant Engineering’s annual Salary Survey shows both wages and bonuses rose in 2012 after a retreat the year before.

Average salary across all job titles for plant floor management rose 3.5% to $95,446, and bonus compensation jumped to $15,162, a 4.2% increase from the 2010 level and double the 2011 total, which showed a sharp drop in bonus.

2012 Salary Survey Analysis

2012 Salary Survey Results

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.