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Natural Gas

Industry Signals Data Law Attack On EPA Air Rules Over Formaldehyde Risks

Chemical manufacturers are signaling they may bring a data quality challenge to EPA's pending air toxics rules for the oil and natural gas drilling sector because the agency relied on safe exposure limits in its 1991 cancer assessment of formaldehyde, which the industry says is outdated and overly stringent.

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EPA Seeks More Fracking Tests In Wake Of Wyoming Contamination Case

Echoing calls from an Energy Department (DOE) advisory panel, EPA is calling for expanded testing of environmental releases associated with hydraulic fracturing following release of draft findings pointing to fracking fluids as the “likely” source of contamination within a Pavillion, WY, drinking water aquifer.

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EPA Sets Gas Plants As GHG Rule Benchmark, Raising Doubts About New Coal

EPA's proposed first-time utility greenhouse gas (GHG) rule for new plants undergoing White House review sets a heat-rate limit -- a measure of fuel efficiency -- to reflect the best-performing combined-cycle natural gas plant, a level so strict it signals an end to new coal plants as only gas facilities will be able to meet the limit, sources say.

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Issa Eyes EPA's Methane Measures

House oversight committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) is launching an investigation into how EPA calculates methane emissions at natural gas drilling sites -- a controversial issue that has raised doubts about the carbon footprint of gas-fired electricity -- after the agency significantly increased its emissions estimates using methods strongly faulted by industry groups.

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OMB Seeks Funding Research Changes To Better Target Fracking's Risks

The White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is calling for realignment of research funding to better address potential environmental and safety risks of hydraulic fracturing, warning that existing Energy Department (DOE) research programs are too inflexible and EPA and other agencies' research roles need better articulation.

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Activists Seek EPA Role In Fracking Case

Environmentalists are urging EPA to intervene in a state appeals board suit on behalf of Pennsylvania citizens suing Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation over natural gas drilling operations that allegedly contaminated groundwater, asking Administrator Lisa Jackson to weigh in on the Keystone State's recent finding that the company has fulfilled its obligations for providing water supplies to affected households.

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EPA Questions Legality Of Pennsylvania Oil, Gas 'Aggregation' Guidance

EPA is questioning the legality of Pennsylvania's controversial draft guidance that aims to set a first-time distance boundary for when Clean Air Act permit writers must "aggregate," or combine, emissions from dispersed oil and gas drilling operations, saying it fails to follow EPA's aggregation policies and violates the Clean Air Act.

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Oil Industry Warns Scope Of Drilling Air Rules Exceeds EPA's Authority

Oil and gas industry groups are warning that EPA's proposed drilling air rules are too broad and are hinting that  they may be unlawful because they appear to overstep Clean Air Act authority by targeting low-emitting equipment, while urging major revisions to the plan -- including scrapping the proposal and starting over with a new rule.

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EPA Cites Dwindling Reliability Fears To Rebut Utility MACT Extension Push

EPA air chief Gina McCarthy is downplaying calls to include special mechanisms to protect electric grid reliability in the agency's final utility air toxics rule beyond existing authority to grant case-by-case compliance extensions, citing a new Department of Energy (DOE) report that finds the rule will not cause major adverse reliability impacts.

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Industry Split Over EPA Plan To Develop Shale Gas Wastewater Standards

Petroleum industry groups appear sharply divided over EPA's plan to craft technology-based discharge standards for shale gas operations, with one major industry organization saying the plan could increase options for handling shale wastewater discharges while several other groups argue EPA lacks justification for issuing a national rule.

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