Environmentalists Seek Gas Capture Limits In ‘Inadequate’ BLM ‘Waste’ Rule
“BLM’s proposal is inadequate because it does little to curb the wasteful practice of flaring from oil wells, despite its recognition that flaring is the largest source of waste of publicly and Tribally owned gas,” argues a coalition of nearly three dozen environmental and conservation groups. Jan. 30 comments from New York University’s Institute for Policy Integrity (IPI) argue that BLM could bolster its cost-benefit review in several ways, including by assessing all benefits expected to occur after 2031 and analyzing the benefits of reducing flaring that could occur from its royalty-based approach.
Liquefied Natural Gas Reviews: Reforms for Rigorous and Durable Decisionmaking
After a meteoric rise in production over the past decade, the United States has become the largest exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG) in the world. Yet, the analysis behind LNG terminal and export approvals overlooks climate and environmental justice impacts, despite promises of imminent reform. Policy Integrity’s new report provides a comprehensive look at the Department of Energy’s (DOE) and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) past practice in this space and offers recommendations for improving their review of the climate and environmental justice impacts of LNG approvals.
EPA, Reversing Trump, Will Restore States’ Power to Block Pipelines
The Biden administration on Thursday will move to restore authority to states and tribes to veto gas pipelines, coal terminals and other energy projects if they would pollute local rivers and streams, reversing a Trump-era rule that had curtailed that power. Richard L. Revesz, a professor of environmental law at New York University, said he did not believe the actions by the Biden administration would affect prices at the pump, since the Trump administration’s limits would remain in place until the Biden rule is finalized, most likely next year. “Keeping the Trump rule in place is not going to keep gas prices low, and removing the Trump rule is not going to raise gas prices,” he said.
Has Biden Ditched the Environment?
It is one thing to sell leases, but getting an oil rig online takes a long time. “Developers already have vast reserves of both productive and currently undeveloped fossil-fuel leases, and any leases that occur today are unlikely to produce oil for many years,” says Max Sarinsky, a senior attorney at New York University’s Institute for Policy Integrity. “There is considerable value in curtailing fossil-fuel leasing now and preserving the option to lease or not lease in the future,” he adds.
FERC Retreats on Gas Policies as Chair Pursues Clarity
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has rolled back sweeping new policies for large natural gas projects, including a framework for assessing how pipelines and other facilities contribute to climate change, weeks after prominent lawmakers panned the changes. If the orders issued yesterday “inappropriately ignore” the impacts of climate change, they may continue to be rebuked by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, said Sarah Ladin, an attorney at the Institute for Policy Integrity at the New York University School of Law.
FERC Issues ‘Historic’ Overhaul of Pipeline Approvals
The greenhouse gas emissions “trigger” provides new clarity for how FERC processes and regulates gas projects, said Sarah Ladin, an attorney at the Institute for Policy Integrity at the New York University School of Law. She noted that FERC has been completing supplemental environmental impact statements for some gas projects over the last year, despite having already issued environmental assessments for the same proposals. “We won’t have to see the delays we saw, where there’s an EA first and [then] a supplemental EIS,” Ladin said.
Interior Should Properly Consider Climate Damages in Oil and Gas Leasing
In regulatory policy, as in life, calculating a potential action’s costs is an important step in determining whether to take that action. Identifying these costs without giving them a place in the decisionmaking, however, would be irrational, and undermines the purpose of calculating the costs in the first place. And yet this is precisely the approach the Department of the Interior (Interior) has taken in analyzing recent proposals to lease public lands and waters for fossil fuel development.
Dems Blame Biden for Continued Offshore Leasing
The argument made by BOEM at the time was that a decrease in federal oil and gas activity would be replaced by imports from foreign producers, and generally those imports could come from areas with a higher carbon imprint from production. Max Sarinsky, an attorney at the Institute for Policy Integrity at the New York University School of Law, told lawmakers that BOEM’s old finding flew in the face of economic principles.
Hearing: What More Gulf of Mexico Oil and Gas Leasing Means for Achieving U.S. Climate Targets
On Thursday, the Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources hosted a remote oversight hearing titled, “What More Gulf of Mexico Oil and Gas Leasing Means for Achieving U.S. Climate Targets.” Witnesses included Policy Integrity's Max Sarinsky. The recording is available here.
House Democrats Scrutinize Offshore Drilling Emissions
A House Natural Resources subcommittee will meet this week to debate the emissions impact of the federal oil and gas program in the Gulf of Mexico. Witnesses include Max Sarinsky, senior attorney at the Institute for Policy Integrity.
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