California Fracking News

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Oil & Gas Press Clips: April 25, 2017

TOP STORY

  • California’s fight against climate change would be overhauled under legislation advanced by an Assembly committee on Monday. The legislation would link the state’s efforts against greenhouse gases and other pollutants, which cause public health problems such as asthma. (Los Angeles Times)

 

CALIFORNIA 

Agencies to leave methane monitoring at Porter Ranch to private companies
89.3 KPCC | Sharon McNary

When America’s worst-ever natural gas leak stank up the air around Porter Ranch in late 2015 forcing thousands of families to flee a pervasive rotten-egg smell and potential health impacts, a few public and private entities installed monitors to sniff the air and publicly display methane measurements in close to real time.

California’s landmark climate-change program would also fight air pollution under proposal
The Mercury News | Katy Murphy

As the Legislature weighs the future of cap and trade, California’s groundbreaking program to cut greenhouse gas emissions that expires in 2020, it is considering key changes pushed by environmentalists and fought by Big Oil and other industry groups in a proposal that cleared its first committee hearing Monday. Air pollution — not just climate-warming greenhouse gases — would be melded into the complex cap-and-trade program under Assembly Bill 378, by Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia. Garcia heads the Assembly’s Committee on Natural Resources, which passed the proposal.

California lawmakers push to link public health efforts to climate programs
Los Angeles Times | Chris Megerian

California’s fight against climate change would be overhauled under legislation advanced by an Assembly committee on Monday. The legislation, a revised version of a measure introduced earlier this year, would link the state’s efforts against greenhouse gases, which contribute to global warming, and other pollutants, which cause public health problems such as asthma. Facilities such as oil refineries would face tighter restrictions, and the cap-and-trade program — which requires companies to buy permits to emit greenhouse gases — would become less flexible.

Brief — Aliso Canyon
Natural Gas Intel

Nearby residents and environmental activists working to permanently close the Aliso Canyon underground natural gas storage facility urged the Los Angeles City Council Friday to use a city-owned water/power utility to study alternatives for relying on the facility. More than a dozen residents spoke and a group of residents from the Save Porter Ranch and Food & Water Watch cited a recent study by EES Consulting which concluded that the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) can meet summer and winter peaks without the Southern California Gas Co. storage facility.

 

NATIONAL

Fracking isn’t contaminating groundwater, study finds
Fox News

A major anti-fracking argument by environmentalists may not have the facts to back it up, a new study conducted by Duke University found. Fracking has not contaminated groundwater in northwestern West Virginia, according to the peer-reviewed study published this month in a European journal. “Based on consistent evidence from comprehensive testing, we found no indication of groundwater contamination over the three-year course of our study,” explained Avner Vengosh, the professor of geochemistry and water quality at Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment.

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Oil & Gas Press Clips:

TOP STORY

  • Canadian and U.S. political leaders vowed to press ahead with a joint cap-and-trade program involving California, Quebec and Ontario despite what some fear are mounting legal and political hurdles to establishing North American carbon market. (The Globe and Mail)

 

CALIFORNIA 

Fire at PG&E substation leaves thousands without power in San Francisco
Los Angeles Times

A fire at a Pacific Gas & Electric Co. substation in San Francisco left tens of thousands of residents without power and halted some rail line services Friday morning. The power outage occurred around 9 a.m. when a fire erupted at PG&E’s Larkin Substation, affecting about 95,000 customers, according to Nicole Liebelt, a spokeswoman for the company.

California, Quebec and Ontario push forward with cap-and-trade program
The Globe and Mail | Tamsin McMahon

Canadian and U.S. political leaders vowed to press ahead with a joint cap-and-trade program involving California, Quebec and Ontario despite what some fear are mounting legal and political hurdles to establishing North American carbon market. The cross-border program is also seen as a critical plank in the Canadian government’s push for a national carbon-pricing plan to meet its target of reducing greenhouse gases by 30 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030. But the program has been beset by political and financial uncertainty.

Gov. Brown declares April 22 as Earth Day
KCRA

April 22 is now Earth Day in California. Gov. Jerry Brown issued a proclamation Saturday declaring April 22 to be “Earth Day” in California. In Sacramento, city leaders and the community will celebrate Earth Day Sunday.

 

OPINION, REPORT, & PRESS RELEASE

Why the US Government Allows Companies to Drill for Natural Gas in National Forests
Teen Vogue | Heather Taylor-Miesle

Ohio played a pivotal role in the creation of Earth Day. In 1969, the Cuyahoga River near Cleveland caught fire. The entire nation looked on in horror as a burning river sounded the alarm: Americans had to become better stewards of natural resources. The public outcry over environmental tragedies like the Cuyahoga River fire and an oil spill in Santa Barbara, which took place the same year, lead to the first Earth Day celebration in 1970. This celebration was also a massive rallying cry for action, and pushed decision-makers in that decade to get busy and put public health above big polluter interests.

 

NATIONAL

Changes to Energy Dept. websites downplay renewables as a replacement for fossil fuels
The Washington Post | Chelsea Harvey

The Energy Department is changing its website to cut down on Obama-era language touting renewable energy sources as a climate-friendly replacement for fossil fuels, according to reports from an environmental watchdog group. Whereas the site formerly touted technologies such as wind, solar and geothermal energy as a replacement for sources such as coal, oil and natural gas, the department’s website now focuses on renewable energy’s potential to create jobs, according to the Environmental Data and Governance Initiative, a network of academics and nonprofit groups that has been monitoring federal websites.

Top Trump adviser calls for reviving controversial natural gas project on Oregon’s coast
The Washington Post | Chris Mooney and Damian Paletta

A top adviser to President Trump on Thursday appeared to throw the administration’s support behind a controversial proposed liquefied natural gas terminal in Oregon that had been rejected by regulators during the Obama administration. “The first thing we’re going to do is we’re going to permit an LNG export facility in the Northwest,” said Gary Cohn, director of the National Economic Council.

Schlumberger’s U.S. fracturing business ramps up activity
Houston Chronicle | Collin Eaton

A big boost in U.S. oil company spending this year will unleash Schlumberger’s full fleet of hydraulic fracturing equipment by the fourth quarter, CEO Paal Kibsgaard said after the company reported Friday that it swung back to a profit in the first three months of the year. The world’s largest oil field services company has begun hiring new workers to man its new trucking fleet to haul large payloads of sand, used in fracking fluids that blast open shale rock as they boost domestic oil production.

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Oil & Gas Press Clips: April 21, 2017

TOP STORY

  • In some of his harshest words to date against President Donald Trump and congressional Republicans, Gov. Jerry Brown on Thursday rallied a ballroom full of climate policy wonks and activists, telling them to ignore the “Alice in Wonderland” scene in Washington and continue fighting climate change. (Los Angeles Times, The Mercury News, SF Gate, Fox News)

 

CALIFORNIA 

Stopping carbon will be like stopping a heroin addiction’: Gov. Brown urges stronger action on climate change
Los Angeles Times | Chris Megerian

If anyone was hoping for a feel-good message from Gov. Jerry Brown at this week’s Navigating the American Carbon World conference on climate change, they didn’t get one. “Don’t relax,” he told the audience of environmental advocates, business representatives and government officials on Thursday. “Don’t feel good about yourself.” Brown’s speech was a trademark blend of religious references, political barbs and warnings about the future if global warming isn’t addressed.

Jerry Brown rallies climate change conference: ‘Stopping carbon will be like stopping a heroin addiction’
The Mercury News | Casey Tolan

In some of his harshest words to date against President Donald Trump and congressional Republicans, Gov. Jerry Brown on Thursday rallied a ballroom full of climate policy wonks and activists, telling them to ignore the “Alice in Wonderland” scene in Washington and continue fighting climate change. But he stressed that the battle against global warming will be a long, difficult road. “Stopping carbon will be like stopping a heroin addiction,” Brown said in a keynote speech at the Navigating the American Carbon World conference. “We are addicted to carbon in the sense that we are repeatedly using it and we get a tremendous high — a whole way of life.”

Billionaire, Activist Tom Steyer Urges Participation in LA’s March for Science
ABC 7 | Adrienne Alpert

NextGen Climate founder and billionaire Tom Steyer has urged for participation in the March for Science on Saturday. The consequences of climate change were depicted Steyer’s television ads for the presidential election. Steyer envisions a return to choking smog and natural disasters under President Donald Trump’s relaxed environmental regulation.

Los Angeles Seeks to Stop Oil and Gas Boom
Breitbart | Chriss W. Street

Los Angeles City Council President Herb Wesson has introduced a motion to end oil drilling and production near public places in a measure that could kill America’s next oil and gas fracking boom. Over the objections from the oil industry, Wesson introduced a motion on April 19 to conduct a study regarding how the Department of City Planning, with the assistance of the city attorney and the city’s petroleum administrator, could change the city’s zoning code to require a setback for oil and gas activities within public and residential facilities.

 

NATIONAL

EPA chief delays methane rule at behest of oil and gas firms
Associated Press | Michael Biesecker

The Environmental Protection Agency is again moving to derail Obama-era regulations aimed at reducing pollution from the fossil fuel industry. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt announced Wednesday he’s issued a 90-day delay for oil and gas companies to follow a new rule requiring them to monitor and reduce methane leaks from their facilities.

Texas oil and gas industry in ‘new cycle of expansion’
Chron | David Hunn

The oil and gas industry, after suffering through the worst downturn in at least three decades, is embarking on “a new cycle of expansion” as companies send dozens of new rigs into Texas oil fields, drill hundreds of more wells and hire thousands of workers.

Fracking Pipeline Spilled Millions Of Gallons Of Mud Into Ohio Wetlands
Associated Press

A Texas company building a high-pressure natural gas pipeline has been issued violations notices by the state of Ohio for spilling drilling mud in separate wetlands. An Ohio Environmental Protection Agency notice says Rover Pipeline spilled around 2 million gallons of the mud used as a lubricant into wetlands while drilling beneath the Tuscarawas River in Stark County, about 60 miles south of Cleveland. An EPA spokesman says no mud got into the river.

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Oil & Gas Press Clips: April 18, 2017

TOP STORY

  • STAND-LA, a group opposed to oil drilling in Los Angeles neighborhoods, said that Council President Herb Wesson plans to introduce a motion calling for a study on phasing out the practice. Should the motion lead to a law banning the practice, it could have wide-ranging implications for the local industry, which has over 1,000 oil wells in the city. (My News LA)

 

CALIFORNIA 

Phillips 66 won’t appeal oil-by-rail decision, but the fight’s not over yet
San Luis Obispo | Monica Vaughan

Phillips 66 won’t appeal San Luis Obispo County’s decision rejecting its oil-by-rail plan to the California Coastal Commission, but it will continue the fight in court, a company spokesman said Monday. The energy company had until Friday to appeal the Board of Supervisors’ decision denying a proposal to build the infrastructure — including a rail spur and unloading dock — that would allow delivery of 6.6 million gallons of crude oil each on as many as three trains per week from throughout North America to its Nipomo Mesa refinery.

Why Porter Ranch real estate is selling despite the recent gas leak
Marketplace | Ben Bergman

It’s been just 18 months since a gas well broke, causing tens of millions of pounds of natural gas to spew into the air in Porter Ranch, on the outskirts of Los Angeles. It ranks as the worst methane leak in U.S. history. The leak was capped, but residents continue to complain about getting sick from the gas field. But even with all this, the housing market there is booming, especially on the high end.

Health, safety top concerns at Aliso Canyon facility hearing
Los Angeles Daily News | Brenda Gazzar

Health and safety concerns dominated the discussion Monday night during a packed hearing on the fate of Southern California Gas Co.’s Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility in the northern San Fernando Valley. Scores of people spoke at the California Public Utilities Commission’s first public participation hearing at the Northridge Woman’s Club on the long-term feasibility of cutting back or eliminating the use of the facility while maintaining energy and electric reliability in Southern California. The majority of speakers Monday night urged the state’s energy regulator to shut Aliso Canyon down altogether or curtail its use.

Safety changes underway to SCV’s SoCal Gas operation
Santa Clarita Valley Signal | Jim Holt

Ongoing safety changes made to natural gas storage and delivery pipes and wells by Southern California Gas Company at its Honor Rancho facility in Valencia are expected to cut natural gas delivery by half. Despite the drop in the amount of natural gas transferred from the site, however, the Santa Clarita Valley operation remains the gas company’s largest distributor of the commodity among its four storage setups in Southern California.

Venoco files for bankruptcy and quitclaims Santa Barbara Channel oil leases
KCBX | Greta Mart

The energy company Venoco announced it has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The company told the California State Lands Commission it no longer has the financial means to continue operating its oil platform in the Santa Barbara Channel.

 

OPINION, REPORT, & PRESS RELEASE

Oil drilling in Los Angeles neighborhoods ready for bust? 1,000 wells under pressure
My News LA | Toni McAllister

A group opposed to oil drilling in Los Angeles neighborhoods said Monday that Council President Herb Wesson plans to introduce a motion calling for a study on phasing out the practice near homes, schools, parks, churches and healthcare facilities. Should the motion lead to a law banning the practice, it could have wide- ranging implications for the local industry, which has over 1,000 oil wells in the city and more than 580,000 residents living within a quarter mile of one.

 

NATIONAL

Once producing for golf courses, operation transforming into large frac sand mine
Houston Chronicle | Jordan Blum

Emerge Energy Services, a Fort Worth sand mining company, said it is buying a small operation south of San Antonio to transform it into a much larger mine to serve the hydraulic fracturing needs of the oil sector. The mine, owned by Osburn Materials of San Antonio, produces sand for building materials, golf courses and baseball fields. Emerge is buying it for $20 million with plans to spend more to rapidly expand it for the oil and gas sector. Emerge borrowed $40 million to finance the acquisition and expansion, according to regulatory filings.

They Told A Fracking Company To Go Away. 3 Years Later, They’re Still in Court.
The Huffington Post | Sara Stewart

Residents of Grant Township weren’t thrilled about Pennsylvania General Energy’s plan to pump millions of gallons of water and toxic solvents into the well. They worried that the wastewater would leach into Little Mahoning Creek, the source of Grant’s pristine drinking water. At first, no one paid them much mind. But three and a half years later, PGE’s project is still tied up in the courts. With the help of a crusading law firm, Long and Wanchisn have taken a novel approach to keeping the well out of their town ― essentially changing Grant’s charter to declare it an independent legal entity with the authority to define civil rights for its citizens, even if those rights conflict with state laws.

BP Gas Leak Is Under Control in Alaska Oil Field
The New York Times | Clifford Krauss

A damaged BP oil and natural gas well that had been venting gas vapors on Alaska’s remote North Slope since Friday morning has been brought under control, the company and state officials said on Monday. No injuries or harm to wildlife were reported, and apparently only a limited amount of oil sprayed with the gas from the well. Still, environmentalists expressed concern about the leakage of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas.

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Oil & Gas Press Clips: April 17, 2017

TOP STORY

  • It took an incredible amount of political capital for Gov. Brown and top Democrats to pass the $52-billion plan over a week ago, which may make getting consensus and reauthorizing cap-and-trade increasingly difficult. (Los Angeles Times)

 

CALIFORNIA 

That $52-billion road bill just made California’s next climate change move a heavy lift
Los Angeles Times | Melanie Mason and Chris Megerian

It took late-night cajoling and nearly $1 billion in deal sweeteners for Gov. Jerry Brown and top Democrats to muscle through a $52-billion tax-and-fee plan just over a week ago to repair California’s roads. Now they have to do it all again. Brown and legislative leaders have another daunting battle ahead over the fate of the cap-and-trade program, the centerpiece of California’s efforts to combat climate change. Facing legal uncertainty over whether cap and trade can continue past 2020, Brown has urged lawmakers to act quickly to reauthorize the program. But the lingering hangover of a hard-fought battle to pass the road repair bill may make consensus on a controversial climate program harder to reach.

Trump is creating a void on climate change. Can California persuade other states to help fill it?
Los Angeles Times | Chris Megerian

California made no secret of its ambitions when it enacted a landmark law on global warming just over a decade ago. Progress here on slashing greenhouse gas emissions, the law said, would have “far-reaching effects by encouraging other states, the federal government and other countries to act.” Now the goal has become more critical than ever as President Trump rolls back national environmental regulations. No matter how hard California pushes, the country will fall short of its obligations under the Paris agreement on climate change unless more states try to keep pace.

First Battery-Natural Gas Power Plant Unveiled in California
Bloomberg | Mark Chediak

Edison International’s utility unit said it has completed the first-of-its kind battery storage and natural gas power systems in Southern California that will help the region backstop increasing amounts of renewable energy and cope with potential shortages after a historic gas leak. Southern California Edison, General Electric Co. and Wellhead Power Solutions partnered to install 10-megawatt lithium-ion batteries at two of the utility’s gas generators, Rosemead, California-based Edison said Monday in a statement.

Gas leak prompts evacuation of business building at USC
Los Angeles Times | Veronica Rocha

A gas leak at a construction site on the USC campus triggered the evacuation of a business building Monday morning, officials said. The gas leak was reported just after 7:20 a.m. near the building in the 3700 block of South Vermont Avenue, said Amy Bastman, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles Fire Department. USC officials said the gas leak was on the main campus.

The world shifts’: Gov. Jerry Brown talks California, climate change and President Trump
Los Angeles Times | Chris Megerian

The Times talked to Jerry Brown about climate change and California’s role in fighting it. Here’s what he had to say.

 

OPINION, REPORT, & PRESS RELEASE

Not all fossil fuels created equal
Santa Cruz Sentinel | Merrill Matthews

Not all fossil fuels are created equally — at least with respect to their carbon footprint. The good news is the United States has been transitioning to less carbon-intensive fossil fuels. The bad news is that neither the media nor environmentalists seem to care. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, burning coal produces between 205.7 and 228.6 pounds of CO2 emitted per million British thermal units (BTUs) of energy. Diesel fuel and heating oil produce 161.3 pounds of CO2 per million BTUs, while gasoline comes in at 157.2 and propane at 139.0. Natural gas is the clear winner: 117 pounds/million BTUs — nearly half that of coal.

 

NATIONAL

Panel Rejects Challenge to State Fracking Ban
New York Law Journal | Joel Stashenko

A state appeals court has dismissed a petition challenging the Department of Environmental Conservation’s ban on extracting natural gas through hydraulic fracturing or “fracking.” In Matter of Morabito v. Martens, 523288, the Appellate Division, Third Department, ruled that plaintiff David Morabito lacked standing to challenge the fracking ban.

BP Struggles to Control Damaged Well in Alaskan Arctic
The New York Times | Clifford Krauss

The British oil giant BP worked through the weekend to control a damaged oil well on Alaska’s remote North Slope that had started spewing natural gas vapors on Friday morning, the company and Alaska officials said. There have been no injuries or reports of damage to wildlife, but crews trying to secure the well have failed amid frigid winds gusting to 38 miles an hour.

Undaunted by oil bust, financiers pour billions into U.S. shale
Reuters | Ernest Scheyder

Investors who took a hit last year when dozens of U.S. shale producers filed for bankruptcy are already making big new bets on the industry’s resurgence. In the first quarter, private equity funds raised $19.8 billion for energy ventures – nearly three times the total in the same period last year. The quickening pace of investments from private equity, along with hedge funds and investment banks, comes even as the recovery in oil prices CLc1 from an 8-year low has stalled at just over $50 per barrel amid a stubborn global supply glut.

Senators reintroduce legislation to allow fracking regulation
Daily Energy Insider

A group of 10 Democratic U.S. senators recently reintroduced the Fracturing Responsibility and Awareness of Chemicals (FRAC) Act, which would increase environmental protections, require transparency, and allow for more thorough regulation related to hydraulic fracturing. The FRAC Act would specifically require natural gas companies to disclose the chemicals they inject into the ground during hydraulic fracturing operations. It would also close a 2005 loophole that prevents the Environmental Protection Agency from conducting comprehensive oversight of fracking activities.

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Oil & Gas Press Clips: April 14, 2017

TOP STORY

  • The California Public Utilities Commission will hold two hearings on April 17th to evaluate minimizing or eliminating the use of Aliso Canyon. The Porter Ranch community expects the proceeding to confirm what four independent studies have concluded: that Aliso Canyon is not necessary to guarantee power to the L.A. Basin.(Los Angeles Sentinel)

 

CALIFORNIA 

The Climate Post: California’s Cap-and-Trade Program Survives Legal Challenge
Huffington Post | Tim Profeta

Last week, California’s Cap-and-Trade Program to reduce carbon emissions was handed a victory when a state appeals court ruled that program’s auction of emissions permits does not constitute an illegal tax because the program is voluntary and the emissions permits have value. In a 2–1 vote, the Court of Appeal for the Third Appellate District upheld the cornerstone piece of California’s climate change policy, siding with the program’s operator, the California Air Resources Board (CARB), by finding that the auction revenues are more akin to regulatory fees than a tax.

 

OPINION, REPORT, & PRESS RELEASE

Fracking could fuel Alaska’s next oil boom
Market Watch | Scott L. Montgomery

Arctic lands and waters hold irresistible allure for global oil companies. Despite opposition from environmental groups and President Obama’s 2016 ban on drilling in federal Arctic waters, exploration in Alaska has revealed massive new volumes of oil. This comes at a time of low oil prices when many observers felt the Arctic would remain off limits. Alaska has proved precisely the opposite. Although it has gone largely unnoticed outside the industry, foreign firms are partnering with American companies to pursue these new possibilities. I expect this new wave of Arctic development will help increase U.S. oil production and influence in world oil markets for at least the next several decades.

Ban Fracking? Bad Economics, Bad Ecology
Forbes | Robert Bradley Jr.

Warning: low-cost, clean energy may be hazardous to your health. Or so say environmental activists who will trot out any line of attack in their crusade against fossil fuels. For years, the green movement has spread falsehoods about hydraulic fracturing. Lately, the leave-it-in-the-ground lobby has doubled down on its mission to thwart the latest oil and gas extraction techniques. But research consistently shows that fracking is a secure — and economically savvy — form of energy production. Banning it, as New York State and Maryland have done, hurts economies — and the environment.

California Public Utilities Commission Holds Two Hearings on Eliminating Aliso Canyon
LA Sentinel

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) will hold two hearings to evaluate minimizing or eliminating the use of Southern California Gas Company’s Aliso Canyon Natural Gas Storage Facility. This proceeding is required by SB 380 (Pavley), the Immediate Moratorium Bill on Aliso Canyon passed in 2016. Porter Ranch residents say this proceeding sets a path for the permanent shut down of Aliso Canyon. The Porter Ranch community expects the CPUC proceeding to confirm what four independent studies have concluded: that the Aliso Canyon gas storage facility is not necessary to guarantee power to the L.A. Basin. A recent report carried out for L.A. County found that Aliso Canyon facility is not needed through Winter 2018.

 

NATIONAL

EPA Chief Pruitt: U.S. Should ‘Exit’ Paris Climate Agreement
Inside Climate News | Marianne Lavelle

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt said on Thursday that the United States should exit the Paris climate agreement. The comments are his strongest yet on a question that has divided the Donald Trump administration, even as it seeks to roll back the nation’s commitment to act on climate change. “Paris is something we need to look at closely. It’s something we need to exit in my opinion,” Pruitt said in an interview on the Fox & Friends morning news program.

EPA, DOJ lawsuit vs. oil company shines light on Trump executive order
Fox News | Andrew O’Reilly

The accusation against the EPA, and their Justice Department (DOJ) lawyers, is the latest episode in a five-year-old fight between the federal government and California-based HVI Cat Canyon, a privately-held oil company formerly known as Greka Oil & Gas. In 2011, the federal government and the state of California sued HVI for various environmental offenses, including violating the Clean Water and Pollution Act, by spilling tar-like oil at least 21 times into drainage ditches. The government classified those ditches as “navigable waters” and thus protected under federal regulations.

Dakota Access Pipeline to start interstate service May 14
Reuters

The controversial Dakota Access Pipeline will begin interstate crude oil delivery on May 14, according to a filing with the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Energy Transfer Partners LP on Thursday filed what is known as a tariff, which lays out details about the line and the oil to be delivered. The 1,172-mile (1,885-km) Dakota Access line runs from western North Dakota to Patoka, Illinois. The $3.8 billion project became a focus of international attention, drawing protesters from around the world, after a Native American tribe sued to block completion of the final link of the pipeline through a remote part of North Dakota.

Methane detection jobs booming
Fuel Fix | David Hunn

A new industry is emerging out of the fight to stop gas leaks in the nation’s oil wells, pipelines and storage tanks. At least 75 firms across the country now work to detect, stop and prevent methane leaks, according to a new study. More than one-third are located in Texas. Ten have opened in the state since 2010. The oil and gas industry is the largest single industrial source of U.S. methane emissions, according to the study by North Carolina consultants Datu Research, commissioned by the Environmental Defense Fund. The natural gas product is a potent greenhouse gas — 80 times more damaging than carbon dioxide.

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Oil & Gas Press Clips: April 13, 2017

TOP STORY

  • For almost 20 years, La Cienga Boulevard in Los Angeles was the only major street in the world to have an active oil well pumping away in the middle of it. (Los Angeles Times)

 

CALIFORNIA 

Judge throws out security fraud claims against Plains All American
Fuel Fix | LM Sixel

A federal judge in Houston recently dismissed a securities fraud case against Plains All American Pipeline, the Houston-based oil and gas pipeline company, stemming from an oil spill in California that left a beach covered in crude oil. Chief U.S. District Judge Lee H. Rosenthal rejected the claims of several pension funds that charged Plains and its financial advisers with falsely claiming the company had a comprehensive and effective environmental program to prevent and contain oil spills to boost the price of its securities.

From the Archives: Oil well in the middle of La Cienega Boulevard
Los Angeles Times | Scott Harrison

From 1927 through 1945, La Cienega Boulevard had an oil well in its center divider. It was said to be the only oil well in the middle of a major boulevard in the world. Drilled in 1906, the well pumped steadily and faithfully ever since. The owners donated the land for La Cienega Boulevard to the city in 1927 with the provision that the well remain and the street be built around it. This was done and ever since autos have whizzed by it on either side.

Funding Fundamentalism in Early-1900s Los Angeles
KCET | Christina Copland

When Lyman Stewart, the founder of Union Oil, looked at the Southern California landscape in the early 1900s, he saw several things. In the parched ravines to the north of Los Angeles, he saw rich reserves of oil sitting just below the surface of the earth. Los Angeles, Stewart believed, would become the bastion of a new religious movement; a form of Christianity rooted in a staunch defense of the Bible as literal truth and focused not on ameliorating social problems, but on spreading the Gospel. Between 1908 and 1923, Lyman poured millions of dollars – mostly from his Union Oil holdings, but also from the Stewart Citrus Association orange groves in Ontario – into making Los Angeles a world center of the fundamentalist movement.

California urges EPA not to withdraw information collection request for oil companies’ methane emissions
Legal NewsLine | Mark Iandolo

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced April 3 that he has joined eight attorneys general in sending a letter to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt. The letter opposes the EPA’s withdrawal of an information collection request involving oil and natural gas company use of methane.

 

OPINION, REPORT, & PRESS RELEASE

Fossil Fuel Math
Sonoma West | Rollie Atkinson

On the surface, any help for road repairs looks good and a 12-cent per gallon gas tax increase doesn’t seem too rude for our pocketbooks. After all, Sonoma County roads need almost $1 billion ($954 million) in upgrades, or $47.7 million a year for the next 20 years. But if you’re looking for $52 billion in Sacramento, how about peeling away at the $55 billion in annual tax shelters and special credits the Legislative Analyst’s Office just revealed. Maybe it’s finally time to tax California oil wells and gas field exploration, like all other states

Methane gets a pass in California
Summit Daily | Gary Wockner

California Gov. Jerry Brown made international news when he vowed to fight President Donald Trump’s attempts to cut America’s climate change research and rescind the nation’s commitment to the Paris Agreement. But there are caveats to his commitment, including the continued growth in fossil fuel extraction in California and the state’s near-explosive population growth, both of which drive emissions up, not down. There’s another issue that California needs to address, and that’s methane emissions from hydropower, particularly at Hoover Dam, the source of a significant portion of Los Angeles’ electricity.

 

NATIONAL

New U.S. pipelines to drive natural gas boom as exports surge
Reuters | Scott DiSavino

U.S. energy firms are scrambling to finish a slew of pipelines that will unleash rich reserves of shale gas in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio as the nation prepares to become one of the world’s top natural gas exporters. The pipelines are expected to boost output from shale fields in the three states by giving producers access to new domestic and international markets.

Demandan comisión estatal por aprobar extracción de petróleo cerca de escuela
Hoy Los Angeles

Residentes del norte de Colorado, respaldados por organizaciones locales y nacionales, presentaron esta semana una demanda contra una comisión estatal por permitir que se realizara la extracción de petróleo a metros de una escuela con mayoría de latinos, confirmó hoy Weld Air and Water, grupo a cargo de la acción judicial. La presentación de la demanda en la corte de distrito de Denver este martes coincidió, a propósito, con el inicio en el senado estatal del debate sobre un proyecto de ley que, de aprobarse, forzaría a que las operaciones de extracción de petróleo y de gas natural se mantuviesen a por lo menos 300 metros de las escuelas y vecindarios.

Industry Insiders Say Minorities Should Pursue Oil Jobs
Los Angeles Sentinel | Stacy Brown

There are great opportunities for African Americans and Latinos in the oil, natural gas, and petrochemical industries, according to industry insiders, who are calling on minorities to “get in the game.” “IHS Markit projects that there will be nearly 1.9 million job opportunities over the next 20 years in our industry, and [minorities] are expected to fill more than 575,000 of those positions,” said Deryck Spooner, ‎the senior director of external mobilization at American Petroleum Institute. “These employment projections are based on current and expected trends in factors such as labor force participation rates, population growth rates, and educational attainment rates.”

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Oil & Gas Press Clips: April 12, 2017

TOP STORY

  • For decades, the city of Los Angeles let a drill site operate just six feet away from homes. To rectify that harm, community members are asking the city to impose more restrictions on the drilling operation. (USC Annenberg Media)

 

CALIFORNIA 

Just Six Feet Away: Oil Drill Site May Threaten Community Safety
USC Annenberg Media | Brad Streicher & Sam Bergum

For decades, the city of Los Angeles let a drill site operate just six feet away from homes. Some people, including USC students, live in homes just six feet away from the border of the drill site. Those housing units rest inside an area designated by the city as a “buffer,” which, according to city documents and officials, was originally intended to serve as a protective barrier for nearby residents.

Epic Fight Over Diesel Pollution And California’s Future Clean Air Authority
KPBS | Ingrid Lobet

Governor Jerry Brown swore last December that if the federal government stopped collecting crucial climate data, the Golden State would launch its own satellite. Repeatedly since then California leaders have vowed to continue their pursuit of clean air and climate progress, no matter how the Trump administration proceeds. The state has long cut a separate path from the federal government, enacting stricter rules to clean up the noxious air many residents still breathe. Many of those rules focus on cars and trucks, because vehicles are California’s largest source of air pollution.

California considers delay to Aliso Canyon re-opening
Argus Media

The California senate has moved forward a bill to temporarily delay full reopening of utility SoCal Gas’ natural gas storage facility at Aliso Canyon. The Senate Energy, Utilities and Communications Committee voted in favor of SB 57 to stop the reopening of SoCal Gas’ Aliso Canyon storage field near Los Angeles until state regulators have completed an investigation to determine the root cause of a massive methane leak discovered in October 2015 that released an estimated 4.6 Bcf (130mn m³) of natural gas into the atmosphere.

 

NATIONAL

The Global Methane Industry Is Set to Keep the World on Fossil Fuels for the Foreseeable Future
Alternet | Hope Forpeace

The U.S. is projected to become a net exporter of energy in the 2020s, in large part because of increased natural gas exports, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. That may sound like good news at first. That is, until you consider that natural gas is 95 percent methane and that methane produces 84 times more short-term warming than carbon dioxide. We’re about to wrap the planet in the global methane industry, keeping the world on fossil fuels for the foreseeable future. Is that a smart solution to greenhouse gas driven warming? Fossil fuel industries want us to think so.

New U.S. drilling permits surged in March
Fuel Fix | Collin Eaton

New drilling permits issued across the United States climbed by almost 4,000 in March, the largest increase in 18 months, Evercore ISI said Tuesday. The number of newly issued U.S. drilling permits has increased steadily since OPEC struck its deal to curb oil production in November. As oil prices rose and drillers locked-in higher prices for future oil production, permitting activity accelerated in February and March, getting closer to levels that were typical before the two-year oil downturn, according to the investment bank, which compiles state permitting data for a monthly report.

Oklahoma Drinking Water Poisoned By Fracking, Claims New Report
Clean Technica | Steve Hanley

A new report from the Clean Water Fund claims that drinking water supplies in Oklahoma are at risk from several oil and gas wastewater wells. Many private wells could also be affected by wastewater disposal wells permitted by the Oklahoma Corporation Commission (OCC).

D.C. Circuit grants EPA’s request to delay smog rule case
The Washington Post | Juliet Eilperin

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit granted the Environmental Protection Agency’s request Tuesday to delay oral argument in a case over its 2015 smog standard, allowing the agency time to reconsider the Obama-era rule. EPA asked on Friday for the postponement, saying President Trump’s appointees “are closely reviewing the 2015 Rule to determine whether the Agency should reconsider the rule or some part of it.”

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Oil & Gas Press Clips: April 11, 2017

TOP STORY

  • An oil drilling site in the Arlington Heights neighborhood of Los Angeles could be transformed into affordable housing. The site holds over a dozen idle wells that would need to be plugged at a cost of $100,000 to $150,000 each. (Curbed LA)

 

CALIFORNIA 

Oil company considers building affordable housing on LA drilling site
Curbed LA | Biana Barragan

An oil drilling site near Arlington Avenue and Washington Boulevard in Arlington Heights could be transformed into affordable housing, reports the Los Angeles Times. The site holds over a dozen idle wells that would need to be plugged at a cost of $100,000 to $150,000 each. Soil on the 1.1-acre would also need to be remediated, a process that can cost $10 to $20 per cubic foot. Wesson has said that Sentinel Peak Resources, the site operator would foot the bill for the site cleanup.

Campaign mailer with photoshopped images draws accusations in L.A. City Council race for Valley seat
Los Angeles Times | Dakota Smith

Photoshopped campaign mailers sent in a Los Angeles City Council race in the San Fernando Valley are sparking accusations of election law violation and counterallegations of hypocrisy. The mailers show Rodriguez’s head attached to the body of a woman in a black suit holding a sign that states, “I am funded by Chevron,” against the backdrop of an ominous-looking oil-drilling operation.

Fall Hearing Date Set in Refugio Oil Spill Criminal Case, Class Action Suit Advances Against Plains
Noozhawk | Giana Magnoli

The criminal case against Plains All-American Pipeline regarding the 2015 Refugio Oil Spill will next be in court in November for a trial call date, according to the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office. A county Grand Jury indicted the company on 46 criminal counts one year after the May 19, 2015, spill, in which a 24-inch Plains crude oil pipeline ruptured and spilled 123,228 gallons onto the coastline and into the ocean near Refugio State Beach on the Gaviota Coast.

Plug Stops Fuel Leak of Sunken Barge in San Francisco Bay
Associated Press

Authorities have plugged the leaking fuel vent on a 112-foot-long barge that capsized last week. The East Bay Times reports there were no new signs of fuel leaking into San Francisco Bay as divers conducted an underwater assessment Saturday of the barge that sank south of the Oakland-San Francisco Bay Bridge. Authorities were preparing to clean a maximum of 4,000 gallons of diesel fuel and 300 gallons of lube oil.

California’s Cap-and Trade Program Wins in Court, Program’s Future Still Unclear
The National Law Review

For climate policy advocates, California has been a kind of sanctuary state, unflagging in its commitment to ambitious mitigation strategies even as the Trump Administration moves to unwind programs at the federal level. In 2016, the California Legislature enacted an aggressive target for the state: reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030. However, the state’s climate policies have been subject to ongoing judicial and legislative uncertainty.

 

OPINION, REPORT, & PRESS RELEASE

California isn’t accounting for this major emitter
High Country News | Gary Wockner

California Gov. Jerry Brown made international news when he vowed to fight President Donald Trump’s attempts to cut America’s climate change research and rescind the nation’s commitment to the Paris Agreement. Brown’s commitment to fighting climate change seems real, and under his leadership, his state has engaged in numerous greenhouse-gas reduction plans. But there are caveats to his commitment, including the continued growth in fossil fuel extraction in California and the state’s near-explosive population growth, both of which drive emissions up, not down.

 

NATIONAL

Environmental Groups Appeal New Jersey Gas Pipeline Approval
The Associated Press

Two environmental groups are appealing the approval of a hotly contested natural gas pipeline through the ecologically sensitive New Jersey Pinelands region by the state agency created to protect the area. The Sierra Club and Environment New Jersey filed the appeal Monday of a Feb. 24 decision by the New Jersey Pinelands Commission to approve a pipeline through the federally protected reserve.

Smog rule may be next on Trump’s chopping block
89.3 KPCC | Emily Guerin

An Obama Administration smog standard may be the next federal environmental regulation on President Trump’s chopping block. Late last week, attorneys for the U.S. Department of Justice said the Environmental Protection Agency was “reviewing” the National Ambient Air Quality Standard for ozone issued by EPA in 2015. In the meantime, DOJ would not defend it in court.

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Oil & Gas Press Clips: April 10, 2017

TOP STORY

  • While Maryland’s Republican governor has signed historic legislation to ban hydraulic fracturing, California’s Governor Jerry Brown continues to posture as a climate leader while failing to act on oil and gas extraction in the state, according to Californians Against Fracking. (Californians Against Fracking)

 

CALIFORNIA 

L.A. oil-drilling site could be turned into affordable housing
Los Angeles Times | Emily Alpert-Reyes

An oil company is floating tentative plans to shut down a drilling site next to a Los Angeles school and replace it with affordable housing. The 4th Avenue site in Arlington Heights has been the focus of neighborhood activists, who worry that idle wells there could eventually deteriorate and leak chemicals into the air or groundwater. Now City Council President Herb Wesson says a new operator, Sentinel Peak Resources, has been talking with his office about closing the site and cleaning it up. No official plan has been drafted and details are scant, but Wesson said he was “unbelievably excited” about the idea, arguing it could pave the way to convert other local drilling sites.

California supports placing cap on pollution by Bay Area refineries
Times Herald | Denis Cuff

California air pollution regulators are siding with a proposal to make the Bay Area the first region in the state to cap oil refinery greenhouse gases and other emissions. The California Air Resources Board said this week it supports an environmentalists-backed proposal to set facility-wide limits on pollution — including emissions like carbon dioxide linked to climate change — at the five Bay Area refineries.

You’ll pay more for gas as California hikes taxes
My News LA | Debbie L. Sklar

Mayor Eric Garcetti is praising Gov. Jerry Brown and the leaders of the California Legislature for the passage of a plan to raise gasoline taxes and vehicle fees by $5.2 billion, saying it will enable Los Angeles to repave its roads. The commitment by the Legislature “will deliver better roads, bridges and transportation infrastructure from one end of the state to the other,” Garcetti said in a statement. “Here in Los Angeles, we will be able to repave our roads and give our residents a smoother rides on their daily commute and on their drives to see the people and the places they love.”

 

OPINION, REPORT, & PRESS RELEASE

Governor Brown’s “Resistance” Fails to Protect California Communities
Californians Against Fracking

Maryland’s Republican Governor Hogan today signed historic legislation to ban hydraulic fracturing. California Governor Jerry Brown continues to posture as a climate leader while failing to act on oil and gas extraction in the state. California uses methods like hydraulic fracturing to extract some of the dirtiest oil, dirtier than even Alberta tar sands oil, according to recent research. While the end products may vary between the two states, the extraction process creates similar threats to public health as well as our air and water. People living near oil and gas operations across California today continue to suffer severe impacts due to a lack of common sense safety measures such as health protective buffer zones. Scientists and physicians have long said that fracking cannot be done safely, and Maryland is the third state to ban the practice.

 

NATIONAL

New York, California Lead State Efforts on Climate Change as Trump Retreats
Newsweek | Chelsea Harvey

It’s a precarious time for federal climate change action in the U.S., to say the least. Just last week, a sweeping executive order signed by President Trump moved to roll back the Obama administration’s flagship Clean Power Plan to curb greenhouse gas emissions from power plants—the latest in a series of efforts by Congress and the White House to repeal various Obama-era rules. But even as the Trump administration continues reversing federal environmental regulations, state governments are stepping up as the nation’s new front line of defense against climate change.

Trump moves to open Atlantic coast to oil drilling for first time in more than 30 years
The Washington Post | Juliet Eilperin and Steven Mufson

The White House is taking steps that could open up new areas of the Atlantic and Arctic oceans to offshore oil and gas drilling, according to multiple individuals briefed on the proposal. The White House is considering an executive order instructing the Interior Department to reverse President Barack Obama’s withdrawal of hundreds of millions of offshore acres from future drilling in December.

The 1% Are The Biggest Contributors To Carbon Emission, Study Says
EconoTimes

When people say that the billionaire class is contributing to the rise of climate change, this is mainly in reference to Big Oil, fracking, and coal. The blame doesn’t really pertain to the wealthiest people on an individual basis. Now, a study is suggesting that this is exactly the case since carbon emission appears to be highest in places where members of the one percent are gathered in high numbers.

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