PSE Energy Quarterly is the newsletter of Physicians, Scientists, and Engineers for Healthy Energy, a nonprofit research institute dedicated to supplying evidence-based scientific and technical information on the public health, environmental, and climate dimensions of energy production and use.
Inadequate state oil and gas regulations threaten groundwater resources, study finds
Inconsistent or vague definitions of “protected groundwater” in 17 state oil and gas regulations leave the nation’s water supply vulnerable to contamination from oil and gas production, according to a PSE-led study published in March.
“Continued unconventional oil and gas development directly in and below formations containing groundwater resources highlights the need for all states to protect groundwater to a single, federally defined standard,” said Dominic DiGiulio, a PSE senior research scientist and lead author on the study. “Lax definitions result in lax protections.”
Read the study.
Read the news story.
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In the Pipeline New York State has set a 2030 goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent compared to 1990 levels. Yet, the state has numerous plans to expand fossil fuel infrastructure across the state. In a PSE analysis published in February — and cited as the primary source for the Earthworks policy report “New York’s Energy Crossroads” — researchers estimate that if the ten natural gas pipelines and associated compressor stations proposed in New York State were built and used at average rates, natural gas consumption would increase by 23 percent and statewide greenhouse gas emissions would increase by 12 percent — numbers that make it nearly impossible for New York State to reach its own goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Expert Panel This February, California’s Secretary of the Natural Resources Agency and Secretary of the Environmental Protection Agency appointed PSE Executive Director Seth Shonkoff to an independent review panel that was formed in accordance with California Senate Bill 83. The panel is tasked with conducting an independent evaluation of the state’s handling of its Underground Injection Control (UIC) regulatory program, which oversees the process of injecting oil and gas waste fluids underground for disposal and enhanced oil recovery. The panel’s top-level goal: to increase protections for aquifers, public health, and safety.
Pioneering Effort Tune in on May 31 when Shonkoff co-headlines a webinar showing why he was named one of “20 Pioneers Under 40 in Environmental Public Health,” an honor bestowed by the Collaborative on Health and the Environment. Shonkoff will discuss his environmental, public health, scientific, and policy work around oil and gas production and energy transitions. The webinar is the collaborative’s platform for each year’s award-winners to share their expertise and perspectives.
Join Our Team! PSE is pleased to announce our California Oil and Energy Economics Fellowship, a one-year position – with potential to extend – to study one or more critical policy issue(s) on oil and gas development and/or use in California from an economics perspective. The successful candidate will conduct and publish research and translate and communicate it to diverse audiences. We are a small team that works hard, thinks big, gets stuff done, and has fun together while doing it.
PSE IN THE NEWS
“We noticed that in many instances undefined terms such as ‘freshwater’ were used to define protected groundwater. Precise definitions are needed to ensure protection of groundwater resources.”
An article in The Environmental Monitor, a magazine for environmental professionals, quotes PSE Senior Scientist Dominic DiGiulio covering the study he led that probed the impacts of an exemption in the Safe Drinking Water Act for oil and gas production.
“The build-out and use of natural gas pipelines currently proposed across New York would put the state’s 2030 goal … virtually out of reach.”
PSE Clean Energy Program Director Elena Krieger is quoted in an Albany Times-Union story on the pipeline report she led, titled “The Greenhouse Gas Impacts of Proposed Natural-Gas Pipeline Build-Out in New York.”
This issue of PSE Energy Quarterly was published May 7, 2018, in Oakland, California.
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