Friday, June 26, 2015

Here’s Which States Are Leaking the Most Natural Gas at the Expense of Their Taxpayers

ICF data shows the volume and value of gas lost due to flaring, venting, and fugitive losses on federal and tribal lands for the top states in 2013. A portion of this value represents royalties that states and tribes are not able to collect. (Credit: Click to Enlarge.
Oil and gas operations located on federal and tribal lands leaked $360 million worth of fuel in 2013, money which would have gone in part to taxpayers and tribes in the form of royalties, according to a new report.

Tuesday’s report was commissioned by the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) to track fugitive methane emissions, a term referring to methane released when natural gas is leaked, vented, or flared. Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change, and is 86 times more effective at trapping heat than carbon dioxide over a 20-year time frame.

The report looked specifically at fugitive methane emissions on federal and tribal lands. It found that, on those lands, more than 65 billion cubic feet (Bcf) of natural gas was wasted via leaks and venting in 2013, representing more than 1 million metric tons of methane. That means that in 2013, emissions from wasted natural gas on federal lands was about the same as the emissions from 5.2 million cars.

That’s obviously bad news when it comes to climate change. ThinkProgress has reported extensively on the climate impacts of fugitive methane leaks, and Tuesday’s study was no different. It found that, even though natural gas emits less greenhouse gases than coal or crude oil, enough gas is leaking to negate the bulk of its climate benefits.

But it’s also bad for taxpayers and tribes, which are supposed to get royalty payments via the gas derived from their land.
Some states are wasting more than others, whether it be through old, leaky infrastructure or excess flaring. According to the report, approximately $100 million of the $360 million worth of fuel wasted in 2013 came from New Mexico. Approximately $76.2 million came from Wyoming, and $76.1 million came from North Dakota.

Read more at Here’s Which States Are Leaking the Most Natural Gas at the Expense of Their Taxpayers

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