Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

July 8, 2020

Carbon Tracker Report 'Closing Time'


Carbon Tracker Report "Closing Time”

By Lisa DeVille
Mandan, Hidatsa, Arikara
Mandaree, North Dakota
Censored News

A recent report by Carbon Tracker entitled, “Closing Time," links abandoned oil and gas wells to climate damaging methane emissions.
The report is not anything revolutionary. For years people have known that abandoned oil wells have been known to leak various gases, one of those gases being harmful methane gas.

To reduce harmful emissions like methane it is important that abandoned wells get reclaimed in a timely manner. 
This is because methane is an especially harmful greenhouse gas with a global warming potential of up to 25 times more potent than carbon on a 100 year time scale.
Although I have generally opposed providing taxpayer dollars to the oil industry, the recent move by the North Dakota Department of Mineral Resources (NDDMR) and leaders at the North Dakota Industrial Commission to direct CARES Act money to reclaiming North Dakota’s abandoned oil wells is a step in the right direction when it comes to reducing methane emissions from abandoned wells. 

Methane emissions also come from active oil and gas wells. If North Dakota state officials want to truly reduce methane emissions they will also have to stop supporting the roll-back of Obama era methane regulations that applied to the oil and gas industry.
A proposal is currently being mulled over to significantly weaken the 2016 Obama Administration EPA Methane Rule. If North Dakota officials were truly serious about reducing methane emissions they should be in opposition to the proposed changes to the 2016 methane regulations.

In my view we need to address both sources of emissions, not just those from abandoned wells.
As a result, I urge North Dakota officials to continue their work to plug abandoned wells, while at the same time push back against the Trump Administration roll-backs of the Obama era methane rules.

We will only solve the methane problem by addressing both active and abandoned oil wells.

-Lisa DeVille, Mandaree

Lisa DeVille is the Vice President of Fort Berthold Protectors of Water and Earth Rights (a grassroots group on Fort Berthold), and a candidate for District 4 State Senate.

1 comment:

J.D. Ruybal said...

Agreed we MUST address both active and abandoned oil wells as well as pushing back, at the same time, against the trump administration. Corporations and individuals make millions and when it comes time to pay they simply walk away. We The People pay the price. No matter where one looks the Internet is awash with examples of an oligarch running amok. Here in northeastern Colorado; as we were developing and exposing violations in air pollution standards the lead scientist was fired under questionable circumstances. Dr. Detlev Helmig dismissal is a perfect example of what we the people are having to contending with. We must find a way to make the“ benefactors” the polluters, pay for any and all cost associated with reclamation. Millionaires have the means to move away to areas of grandeur; leaving thousands of people to suffer great harm while simultaneously forcing the people to pay monetarily for remediation. The science is out this issue is truly becoming a matter of life and death.

There is something rotten in the Republic of Boulder — and ... After 25 years of acclaimed atmospheric research at the University of Colorado, Dr. Detlev Helmig was summarily fired in April. The firing was delivered by a video call that took less than 30 minutes. In less than an hour after he was first notified that the university was dissatisfied with his efforts to help Colorado […]Why'Orphan' Oil and Gas Wells Are a Growing Problem for... Colorado Oil and Gas Plugging and Abandonment Bonds: Bond Amount. Bond Description. $10,000. Any well less than 3,000 feet deep. $20,000. Any well 3,000 feet deep or more. $60,000. A group of wells under 100. $100,000. A group of 100 or more wells. Source: Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission

NavajoNation: Cleaning Up Abandoned Uranium Mines | US EPA From 1944 to 1986, nearly 30 million tons of uranium ore were extracted from Navajo lands under leases with the Navajo Nation. This website describes how five federal agencies are working together to reduce the highest risks to Navajo people from uranium contamination resulting from the abandoned mines.