Natural gas’ reputation as a climate-friendly alternative to coal has been tarnished recently by concerns that methane—a potent greenhouse gas—is leaking in copious quantities as the fuel makes its way from the ground to the consumer. A study released Monday provides the first on-the-ground measurements of methane leaks at hydraulically fractured natural gas well sites, and they're not as bad as some had feared.
The Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality is wrapping up an engine emissions study it started in May of 2011. The study looks at emissions from engines around the state, like generators running on oil and gas fields, to find out if those emissions are in compliance with air quality laws.
DEQ Air Quality Engineer Jon Walker says operators have traditionally been in charge of monitoring their own engines, but he says that’s not a good system.
Sinclair Oil has agreed to pay a fine of $3.8 million and install pollution controls at its refineries in Casper and Rawlins, to settle a lawsuit that the Environmental Protection Agency filed.
The EPA says the refineries exceeded federal limits on various emissions.
Sheldon Muller, a lawyer with the EPA, says the Casper refinery will have to install equipment to reduce nitrous oxide emissions by 50 percent, and the Rawlins plant has make changes to its flare gas recovery system, in order to limit sulfur dioxide emissions.