Posted on March 28, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Sensitive instruments to track methane, VOCs and other airborne toxins from New Mexico to North Dakota
The Four Corners area (red) is the major U.S. hot spot for methane emissions in this map showing how much emissions varied from average background concentrations from 2003-2009 (dark colors are lower than average; lighter colors are higher). Image courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Michigan.
FRISCO — A recent study of satellite data showing a hotspot of potent heat-trapping methane pollution over the Four Corners region makes it clear that we’re digging an ever-deeper global warming hole by fracking every last corner of the country.
As NOAA put it, “Vast regions west of the Mississippi River are under development for oil and gas extraction … but while one focus is on what comes out of the ground, NOAA and Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences researchers and their colleagues are studying what escapes to the air—and how it is transformed in the atmosphere and affects air quality and climate.
Scientists hope to learn much more about the massive quantities of pollution escaping from fossil fuel development areas in the next few months as they launch this year’s Shale Oil and Natural Gas Nexus (SONGNEX 2015) field campaign, using airborne instruments to measure greenhouse gases and other toxic emissions.
Filed under: air quality, climate and weather, climate change, Environment, global warming | Tagged: air pollution, climate change, fracking, methane, ozone, smog, VOCs | 1 Comment »
Posted on March 27, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
U.S. automakers make progress on cutting emissions, the EPA says. bberwyn photo.
Overall average fleet efficiency at 24.1 miles per gallon
FRISCO — Automakers are stepping up the pace on reducing emissions, according to the EPA, which this week released a report showing that the industry overall outperformed the national greenhouse gas emissions standards by a wide margin for the second year in a row.
Compliance for model year 2013 was 1.4 miles per gallon better than required by the 2013 standard. The report presents detailed information about how individual firms are complying with GHG emissions standards for cars and light trucks. Continue reading
Filed under: air quality, energy, Environment, greenhouse gases | Tagged: auto emissions, auto fuel efficiency, climate change, EPA, global warming, greenhouse gases | 1 Comment »
Posted on March 21, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Better wells and disclosure, but not enough protection for special areas
*More on public lands fracking in these Summit Voice stories
FRISCO — New fracking rules for federally managed public lands include tighter standards for well-bore integrity, wastewater disposal and disclosure of chemicals, but don’t go far enough to fully protect public health and the environment, according to activist groups, who wanted the Bureau of Land Management to adopt more stringent regulations. Continue reading
Filed under: air quality, energy, Environment, fracking, gas drilling, oil drilling | Tagged: BLM, Environment, fossil fuels, fracking, public lands | Leave a comment »
Posted on March 18, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Western U.S. Counties Violating Current and Proposed Ozone Air Quality Standards. Map courtesy Jeremy Nichols/ClimateWest blog.
Proposed EPA standards would help bring relief to residents of fossil fuel development zones
FRISCO — The mythology of the American West includes standard notions of pristine vistas and clean air, but the reality is far different. Some parts of the region have a dirty little secret — air quality that, at times, is worse than places like L.A.
And for now, the problem is getting worse. Expanded drilling on public lands is resulting in emissions of more volatile organic compounds that form the chemical basis for ozone. Global warming won’t help either. By mid-century, ozone pollution will become much more widespread as temperatures rise, potentially leading to widespread plant damage, according to one recent study.
Proposed new EPA ozone standards could help, but only if there’s an active year-round monitoring regime in the region, a coalition of environmental groups said in their formal public comments on the proposed new standards. Continue reading
Filed under: air quality, energy, Environment, fracking, gas drilling, oil drilling | Tagged: air quality, Environment, epa ozone standards, fracking, West | 2 Comments »
Posted on February 28, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
BLM rejects request for orderly master leasing plan
The BLM’s new management plan for the Tres Rios area is spurring criticism.
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — Residents and elected officials in southwest Colorado say a new management plan for a vast swath of public lands in the region favors oil and gas companies over community interests.
According to critics, the BLM Tres Rios land resource management plan would allow drilling near the edge of Mesa Verde National Park, adding to near-critical air pollution woes and disturbing important wildlife areas.
Most importantly, the federal agency ignored requests by local governments to ensure the orderly and safe development of fossil fuels. Continue reading
Filed under: air quality, BLM, energy, Environment, fracking, gas drilling, oil drilling, public lands | Tagged: Colorado, Cortez, energy, Environment, fracking, Mesa Verde, national parks, public lands | Leave a comment »
Posted on February 23, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Two-day Estes Park event highlights Rocky Mountain NP park research
FRISCO — Along with drawing more than 3 million visitors per year, Rocky Mountain National Park is a hotbed of scientific discovery, Each year the park issues more than 100 research permits, with scientists coming from all over the world to study plants, animals, geology and water. Last year, citizen scientists volunteered thousands of hours to research projects. In addition, hundreds of students participate in field data collections and lab analysis.
Many of the researchers will be in Estes Park next week to share the findings from their studies during the two-day (March 4, 5) biennial research conference, which is free and open to all interested members of the community. No registration is required. The conference begins on Wednesday, March 4, at 8:00 a.m. See the full schedule at: http://www.nps.gov/rlc/continentaldivide/research-conference.htm. Continue reading
Filed under: air quality, biodiversity, Environment, national parks, public lands | Tagged: Citizen science, Colorado, Environment, national park research, Rocky Mountain National Park | 1 Comment »
Posted on January 23, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
A commercial airliner flies over the Sierra Nevada.
Without regs, emissions could triple by 2050
FRISCO — With the EPA set to decide in May whether aircraft carbon pollution endangers public health or welfare, the battle over airline industry emissions in heating up.
Both the EPA and the airline industry have been dragging their feet for years, refusing to address one of the fastest growing sources of greenhouse gas pollutants. This week, six major green groups called on the EPA and the Federal Aviation Administration to move quickly to set emission standards to curb greenhouse gas pollution from the nation’s aircraft fleet. Continue reading
Filed under: air quality, climate and weather, Environment, global warming | Tagged: airline greenhouse gas emissions, Environment, global warming, Travel | Leave a comment »