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  • bluecheese4u bluecheese4u Jul 28, 2013 1:30 AM Flag

    Wyden’s Next Steps For Ensuring That The Shale Gas Expansion Provides Net Benefits

    Wyden’s Next Steps For Ensuring That The Shale Gas Expansion Provides Net Benefits

    By Climate Guest Blogger on Jul 26, 2013 at 3:44 pm
    By Gwynne Taraska

    Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, announced that he is seeking bipartisan agreement on a number of issues related to the expansion of shale gas production. These include the development of natural gas infrastructure and the control of methane leakage. His announcement came yesterday in a forum hosted by the Bipartisan Policy Center on the impact of natural gas on the U.S. economy and geopolitics.

    Given that methane is a powerful greenhouse gas –- trapping a hundred times as much heat as CO2 over a 20-year timeframe –- leakage poses a serious threat to the climate and could counteract some of the emissions benefits of substituting natural gas for coal in the generation of electricity. New natural gas plants have emissions benefits compared to new coal plants if the methane leakage rate is below 3.2 percent from well to power plant delivery. Wyden yesterday endorsed a leakage target of 1 percent for future pipelines. “I’m going to look for ways to not just build more pipelines,” Wyden said, “but to build better pipelines.”

    Wyden is also proposing that states and the federal government share the regulation of hydraulic fracturing (fracking) operations. States, he says, should oversee “below ground” fracking activities such as well construction, given that they have intimate knowledge of local geology. The federal government, Wyden says, should oversee “above ground” activities such as the reporting of spills and the disclosure of fracking chemicals. Wyden’s proposal is therefore in sharp contrast to the current draft rule on fracking by the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM), which applies only to public and tribal land and has been criticized for having insufficient disclosure requirements. Wyden has also called for the Department of En

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