The late-November Taxpayers for Common Sense report on wasted taxpayer dollars caused by venting and flaring of natural gas from oil and gas production has been a big hit throughout the country. Below are a few news round-ups from the states where this wasteful practice is occurring, as well as a great op-ed from the US News and World Report highlighting the economic waste.
In Colorado, almost 28-billion cubic feet of natural gas was lost from Colorado lands between 2006 and 2013. Bill Midcap, director of external affairs with the Rocky Mountain Farmers Union, finds it ironic how much gas the federal government allows to be lost.
‘Our federal government talks about our dependence and reliance on fossil fuels from foreign countries, when we choose in this country to still vent and flare natural gas that could heat houses and communities,” he says.
– See more at: http://www.publicnewsservice.org/2014-12-04/environment/free-for-all-report-says-co-loses-out-on-wasted-gas/a43224-1#sthash.6oIadpt4.dpuf
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Fifty-one percent of all natural gas intentionally released into the atmosphere on the nation’s public lands occurs in New Mexico. That’s according to a new study from Taxpayers for Common Sense. Ryan Alexander, president of the organization, says the research found since 2006, more than $380 million worth of natural gas was allowed to burn off or used by energy companies on public lands owned by Americans.
“In the state of New Mexico, it was almost five percent of all of the gas that was extracted was not brought to market,” he says. “It was either used or released into the atmosphere. So I think that those numbers are troubling.”
-See more at: http://www.publicnewsservice.org/2014-12-04/energy-policy/report-nm-leads-nation-in-natural-gas-released-into-atmosphere/a43248-1#sthash.gRi6J0La.dpuf
California: Energy Developers Use Free Gas from Public Land
“California was another state where there was really a high percent of gas that was extracted (and) not brought to market,” she [Taxpayers for Common Sense President Ryan Alexander] said. “Seventeen percent of the gas in this eight-year period that was extracted was either used or flared or vented into the atmosphere, and I think that’s really troubling numbers.”
– See more at: http://www.publicnewsservice.org/2014-12-03/energy-policy/report-energy-developers-use-free-gas-from-public-land/a43175-1#sthash.Ri9aYDdn.dpuf
U.S. News: A Waste of Energy
“At Taxpayers for Common Sense, we started looking at this issue because of the immediate losses in revenue. (A concern we have about other uses of public lands, from grazing to hardrock mining.) But there are also problems with the potential long-term liabilities created by methane venting and flaring. Methane is the principle component of natural gas. As an energy source, it burns much cleaner than oil or coal, but released directly into the atmosphere, methane is a potent greenhouse gas. So on top of not charging a royalty for methane vented and flared, we are creating additional taxpayer liabilities from its impact on the climate down the road.
The Department of the Interior has an opportunity to change the system to eliminate, or at a minimum drastically reduce, the wasted methane from current oil and gas operations. Natural resource royalties are an important source of revenue, and allowing the waste we see right now is simply inexcusable.”