An advocacy group is warning that fracking could cause air pollution and other problems in national parks.
Sharon Mader with the National Parks Conservation Association says they’re concerned that ozone from gas development in Sublette County could spread to Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks. She says that hasn’t happened yet, but they’re worried about the future.
A new study conducted by the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University reports that as more EPA regulations go into effect, natural gas is likely to become even more attractive to utilities than coal.
Co-author of the study, Professor Lincoln Pratson, says that one reason coal will become less desired is the expensive emission controls the coal plants will have to install.
The only pollutant that natural gas plants produce that the EPA regulates are NOx emissions. NOx stands for pollutants which contain NO and NO2, gases formed during combustion.
We recently reported that the federal government – and consequently Wyoming – might be getting shortchanged when it comes to royalty payments on coal going overseas. Turns out, the government is missing out on royalties in other ways, too. Wyoming Public Radio’s Irina Zhorov reports that right here in Wyoming, companies are quite literally burning up both federal and state royalty money when they flare natural gas.
Lower Valley Energy, a utility company, and the Department of Environmental Quality have entered the settlement process over a non-compliant part at their natural gas compressor station in Sublette County. The DEQ discovered the infraction during a routine inspection last October, and issued a notice of violation this January. According to their permit, the station is supposed to be using an emissions control device but they’re using a boiler to route natural gas emissions.
US Senator John Barrasso is sponsoring a bill meant to expedite the process of shipping liquefied natural gas, or LNG, abroad. Currently, the Secretary of Energy has to sign off on LNG exports to countries included in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, as well as Japan, and open a comment period for exports to nations not part of NATO. The bill would allow the secretary to skip the comment period if the secretaries of state and defense agree that exports to a specific, non-NATO country are in the national security interest of the US.
Four people have been hurt in a flash fire at a ConocoPhillips natural gas processing plant in Fremont County.
ConocoPhillips spokesman Jim Lowry says the flash fire occurred at the Lost Cabin plant about 8:30 a.m. today/Wednesday while contract workers were doing maintenance on part of the plant.
Lowry says the brief fire went out on its own.
Fremont County Sheriff's Capt. Dave Good says two of the people who were hurt received what he described as "pretty severe" injuries. They were transported to hospitals in the region, including a burn center in Greeley, Colo.
The U-S Geological Survey released a study examining how coalbed natural gas production affects water quality in nearby streams and rivers. Wyoming Public Radio’s Willow Belden spoke with Melanie Clark, the author of the report.
Governor Matt Mead hopes to move forward in finding a new Oil and Gas Supervisor. The governor accepted the resignation of former Supervisor Tom Doll after Doll said unflattering things about those affected by water contamination in Pavillion.
Mead Spokesman Renny MacKay says the governor will soon visit with the Oil and Gas Commission to determine how to go about a search.
“He does want to work quickly on this but he says it’s most important to be thorough. And so he’s not going to rush the process, but he does want it to move along quickly.”
Two Wyoming conversation groups have joined others in suing to protect the Fortification Creek area of the Powder River Basin from natural gas development.
The Wyoming Outdoor Council and Powder River Basic Resource Council complain that the Bureau of Land Management approved a plan to allow coalbed methane development in an area that was previously protected from energy development.
Retired B-L-M Wildlife Biologist Larry Gerard says the move surprised him because the area is filled with wildlife.
The Lincoln County Commissioners are backing True Oil L-L-C proposal to drill two gas wells in the Bridger-Teton National Forest. One well would be located on a well pad where oil development has already occurred, the second would be a new well.
Lincoln County Commission Chairman Kent Connelly says the company plans to use new technology to recover the gas, and that’s why they support the plan.
“With the technology change in drilling in there, you can do this; it’s not a really invasive approach that they are talking about doing.”
Wyoming's top oil and gas regulator says the companies involved in a natural gas well blowout in eastern Wyoming last month won't face any fines. Tom Doll, the state's oil and gas supervisor, tells the Casper Star-Tribune that well owner Chesapeake Energy Corp. and drill rig owner Trinidad Drilling Ltd. won't be cited for the blowout. The mishap vented up to 2 million cubic feet of explosive gas and 31,500 gallons of drilling fluid into the air and around the drill site near Douglas.
A natural gas leak 10 miles northeast of Douglas has caused dozens of residents to evacuate their homes.
The natural gas site, operated by Cheasapeake Energy, began leaking gas around 4pm yesterday, and by last night, Chesapeake official John Dill says area residents were notified that they should evacuate.
"We contacted approximately 67 residents in homes in about a 2.5 mile radius of this location, and asked them to consider a voluntary evacuation to area hotels, which is going to be paid for by the company," says Dill.
The Environmental Protection Agency is expected to release some new air pollution regulations surrounding natural gas development. Earthjustice Attorney Robin Cooley saysit’s been 25 years since the E-P-A last evaluated standards and the new ones are overdue. She says the industry is much different than it used to be.
"We know that the current rules are inadequate. They don't protect public health. The pollution problems are mounting by the day and expanding into new areas."
The price of natural gas has fallen below $2 per 1,000 cubic feet for the first time in more than a decade. The U.S. supply of natural gas is growing so fast that analysts worry the country's underground storage facilities could be full by fall and lead to further price declines. On Wednesday, the futures price of natural gas fell to $1.984 per 1,000 cubic feet, its lowest level since January 28, 2002, when it hit $1.91. There is so much natural gas being produced - and still in the
As natural gas prices continue to drop, the recent nationwide boom in drilling is slowing. Several companies have said in recent weeks they plan to cut back production, but experts say the low prices are also opening up new markets. Kathryn Klaber, president of the Marcellus Shale Coalition, says there will be fewer natural gas wells drilled in 2012. Yet Klaber says that even as drillers are pressured by low prices, the cost creates opportunities for more people and industries to use the product.
Governor Matt Mead says falling natural gas prices make this a good time to reevaluate his proposed budget. In December, the governor submitted his budget, which asked agencies to present a two-percent cut to their budgets. That budget was based on natural gas prices which were nearly $3.50 per MCF at the time.
Natural gas prices have declined steadily in recent months. The price of gas produced at the Opal Hub in south central Wyoming has dropped by about 60 cents since June.
Jim Robinson is the senior economist for the state Economic Analysis Division. He says gas development has grown in Wyoming, but it’s increasing drastically in other states as well, including Pennsylvania and New York.