Two anti-fossil fuel groups who collaborated on a report released this month alleging improper emissions from oil and gas facilities in Oklahoma admitted last week that they did not collect corresponding air testing data to support their claims. The Coalition for Oklahoma’s Renewable Energy (CORE), with assistance from national environmental group EarthWorks, issued a report calling attention to what it claimed were multiple instances of a “invisible oil spills” at Oklahoma oil and gas production facilities using “Forward-Looking Infrared” (FLIR) cameras.
Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman’s office filed a motion last week to dismiss a lawsuit against the state brought by environmental groups aimed at granting “personhood” to the Colorado River. The state of Colorado told the U.S. District Court that those acting on behalf of the plaintiff—the Colorado River itself—do not have jurisdiction under the 11th Amendment, lack standing due to a lack of specific injury, and have not stated a claim “upon which relief can be granted,” according to the filing.
The release of an anti-oil and gas report targeting emissions in the state of Oklahoma violated Oklahoma State University policy on use of emails for campaigning, according to the school. The report, “Oil & Gas Pollution’s Impacts on Oklahoma Families,” released by the group Coalition for Oklahoma’s Renewable Energy (CORE), alleges that video evidence it obtained using “Forward-Looking Infrared (FLIR) technology, shows methane emissions invisible to the naked eye. The conclusions offered by CORE are meant to lend support for Environmental Protection Agency and Bureau of Land Management methane regulations.
Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt announced Tuesday he planned to curtail the practice of distributing research grants to scientists appointed to the agency’s scientific advisory boards to improve their “independence and transparency and objectivity.” “If we have individuals who are on those boards receiving money from the agency, sometimes, to the tune of tens of millions of dollars, that calls into question the independence of the recommendations that come our way,” Pruitt said, speaking at a Heritage Foundation event. “Next week, I will issue a directive that addresses that, to ensure the independence and transparency and objectivity with respect to the scientific advice that we are getting at the agency.”
New Mexico oil and natural gas officials called out excessive permitting wait times and other regulations they say are deferring state and federal revenue across the state and in the heart of the Permian basin, which local officials project to be the “new energy frontier.” Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway welcomed the industry to the Mayor’s annual Energy Summit, saying, “We dream big in Carlsbad, and so do you. Thank you for helping us make Carlsbad a new energy frontier.”
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt halted the agency’s practice of engaging in “sue and settle” regulatory settlements with environmental groups, stopping what he called “regulation through litigation.” Pruitt’s directive aimed at reclaiming the agency’s primacy and declining to defer to environmental groups on timelines for action, while also including broader input from the industries and companies being regulated.
Western Congressional leaders and state regulators pushed for delegating state primacy on permitting for oil and gas development on federal lands within state borders at a hearing Friday, calling the current regulatory framework a “classic case of federal overreach.” House members heard testimony on draft legislation for the ONSHORE Act, which would defer permitting from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to the states where the majority of U.S. domestic oil and gas production occur.