A new database for tracking attacks and other incidents involving the nation’s energy infrastructure launched in late October, according to Energy Builders, a coalition of energy infrastructure providers. The Energy Builders’ Energy Infrastructure Incident Reporting Center (EIIRC), intended to be a warehouse for gathering publicly sourced information, independent reporting, and firsthand accounts, will be “dedicated to tracking and exposing attacks on critical energy infrastructure.”
A New Mexico Senator and national environmental groups touted the benefits of oil and gas production within the state even as they called for more regulations in a press call Thursday. The Environmental Defense Fund hosted the call, joined by U.S. Sen. Tom Udall (D) to announce a report the activist group said would raise revenues and decrease methane emissions.
A bipartisan bill to promote domestic energy development and reduce overlapping federal permitting processes and allow states to manage oil and gas development on federal lands within their borders passed out of the House Committee on Natural Resources Wednesday. Republican Reps. Steve Scalise (La.) and Bob Bishop (Utah), and Democrat Reps. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) and Vicente González (D-Texas) jointly sponsored the “SECURE American Energy Act.” The bill would increase state primacy in the federal permitting process, among other provisions, and would “spur economic investment in federal lands” and “increase revenues to federal and state governments.”
The Bureau of Land Management’s hydraulic fracturing rule, the subject of legal wrangling by environmental and industry groups and currently under review by Trump administration officials for complete rescission, will continue to be on hold for a few more weeks. A September decision by the appeals court threw out a lower court’s determination that the BLM lacks authority to regulate fracking, moving up the possible implementation of the rule this month. But industry trade associations and four Western states asked the court to postpone vacating the lower court ruling to allow the administration to complete its rule rescission.
Tracking and compliance efforts by oil and gas companies in New Mexico have documented methane emissions dropping by more than 50 percent in just the last year, state regulators told New Mexico lawmakers last week. Oil and gas companies are following through on reporting requirements for methane released, as regulators found just 56 instances of where operators failed to report data in the past year, out of 60,000 active wells tracked each month, or 0.0009 percent of wells.
Gov. John Hickenlooper applauded the appointment of Colorado’s top public health regulator and physician to the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC) Friday, calling the move a “terrific opportunity.” Dr. Larry Wolk, Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and Chief Medical Officer for the state of Colorado will join Dr. Tony Cox, the board’s new chair, and Dr. James Boylan on the seven-member panel. Cox is an independent expert in qualitative risk analysis, and Boylan is a regulator with the Georgia Environmental Protection Division.
The District Court of Wyoming granted a request by the Department of Justice to delay briefings in the case against the Bureau of Land Management’s venting and flaring rule, despite opposition from Western Energy Alliance and the Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA). Critics of the venting and flaring rule say it is costly and unnecessary. The industry group’s court filings indicate the rule will impose $115 million in costs between now and the January 17, 2018 compliance deadline.