Target: Gina McCarthy, EPA Administrator
Goal: Test abandoned oil and gas wells for leaking methane that could significantly contribute to greenhouse gas levels
A recent study done by a Princeton University scientist on abandoned Pennsylvanian oil and gas wells has determined these neglected sites could be leaking unchecked methane emissions into the atmosphere, contributing significantly to levels of greenhouse gas. The federal government currently does not test any deserted oil or gas wells in the country for leaking methane, nor are these locations considered contributors in federal emissions reports.
Methane is at least 30 times more detrimental as a greenhouse gas compared to carbon dioxide. This study tested 19 dormant wells across Pennsylvania. If the results from these 19 wells prove to be the norm, abandoned wells could be credited for up to 13 percent of human-caused methane in that state alone. It is estimated there are between 280,000 and 970,000 such wells in Pennsylvania. Considering how many of these sites now exist throughout the country, the implications are staggering.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been working to reduce methane emissions at active well sites but does not include abandoned wells as the current rules concentrate on regulating fluids as opposed to gases. That, coupled with the fact that plugged wells are not required to be closely monitored, leaves a huge gap for a detrimental source of damage to our environment.
Without the proper input of data, there is no way the EPA can accurately make recommendations to regulations in an effort to battle the onslaught of greenhouse gas and its outcome on our environment. The EPA needs to conduct its own research and include this data for accurate representations and considerations of solutions.
Dear Ms. McCarthy,
Thank you for taking an active role in reducing methane emissions at landfills and active oil and gas wells. I am writing you to push this action even further.
There is growing data and concern by members of the scientific community that one venue for this gas to escape is being ignored. A recent study by a Princeton University scientist found a staggering amount of methane emitting from abandoned oil and gas wells in Pennsylvania.
As abandoned wells throughout the country are neither regulated nor tested, the potential oversight is staggering. You must add testing for methane of abandoned oil and gas wells to your agenda if you truly wish to make a powerful impact on greenhouse gas levels.
[Your Name Here]
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