In light of recent court rulings involving Obama-era rules that are being rewritten by the Trump Administration, it is unclear if oil and gas companies will have to start complying with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) methane and hydraulic fracturing rules. The possibility remains, but appears unlikely due to the trajectory in both court cases and progress the agency is making. These developments indicate that compliance is not a foregone conclusion.
A Western environmental advocacy group with financial ties to the New Venture Fund (NVF), George Soros, and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund released a poll attacking Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s not yet released monument review report, according to E&E News. The NVF-backed Western Values Project commissioned the poll the week after Zinke hinted at recommendations to change or reduce a handful of national monuments after conducting a review of the federal holdings ordered by President Trump.
Some recent studies have generated sensational headlines about greenhouse gas emissions from the oil and natural gas industry. Twisting studies to grab more clicks is nothing new, but under closer scrutiny the studies don’t support the hype. Take for example The Guardian’s recent headline, “Just 100 companies have been the source of more than 70% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions since 1988, according to a new report.” Obviously such a claim grabs people’s attention. The article quickly received over 80,000 shares on Facebook. Those who don’t have to time or the interest to dive into the study, “The Carbon Majors Report,” assume that the world’s largest oil, natural gas and coal companies are almost single-handedly responsible for all man-made greenhouse gas emissions.
The Trump Administration’s sweeping new Energy Independence Executive Order shifted American energy policy with a stroke of a pen. Press reports focused on the Clean Power Plan’s demise, but the inclusion of several major oil and natural gas regulations are extremely important for reorienting the government back to following the rule of law, encouraging American energy development, and putting people back to work.
California billionaire and environmental activist Tom Steyer made a serious move into New Mexico politics last year. Using the same tactics he developed for Nevada, Steyer helped Democrats win control of the state legislature. And just like Nevada, his spending and its impact on state politics have gone mostly unnoticed so far.
A small group of Nevada lawmakers – backed by California billionaire Tom Steyer in the last election – are pushing bills to ban fracking and impose a massive new renewable energy mandate on the state economy. The bills follow a major investment in Nevada politics by Steyer, a huge contributor to environmental activist groups and the largest single political donor to federal candidates of the past two election cycles. Steyer’s spending in a hotly contested U.S. Senate race was widely reported, but his involvement in the battle for control of the Nevada state legislature went largely unnoticed. Nevada campaign finance records show Steyer and his wife, Kat Taylor, personally contributed $70,000 to five state legislative candidates – all Democrats – in the 2016 election.
The new EPA greenhouse gas inventory is particularly timely, because Congress is weighing whether to use the Congressional Review Act to overturn the Obama administration’s “venting and flaring” rule. The rule purports to reduce methane emissions from oil and natural gas production on federal public lands.