Gas

GAS

Like coal and oil, natural gas is a fossil fuel. Fossil fuels (which we burn to power transportation, heating & cooling, and electricity) are non-renewable sources of energy formed in the earth over the past millions of years, typically from the remains of marine microorganisms and plants. Sealed off from oxygen and put under ever-increasing amounts of heat and pressure, this organic matter undergoes a thermal breakdown process that ultimately converts it to hydrocarbons.

The lightest of these hydrocarbons occur in a gaseous state known collectively as “natural gas,” which in its pure form is a colorless, odorless gas composed primarily of methane.

Natural gas currently supplies nearly 1/3 of the United States’ primary energy and is the primary heating fuel for approximately half of U.S. households.

Natural gas is a growing energy source — generating less carbon dioxide than coal when burned and cheaper than other fossil fuels.

It has been seen by many as playing a strategic role in the clean energy transition — a means to reduce both local air pollution and coal-associated carbon emissions, a means of quick-ramping dispatchable and reliable power, a plentiful, economically-attractive fuel. However, concerns about methane emissions and the overall carbon budget have called into question the future for gas.

What is natural gas?

CURRENT NEWS

The Surprising Force Stalling Climate Progress: California Restaurants

By Ben Elgin 05/13/24
In the fight to ratchet down climate emissions and soothe the most dangerous effects of an overheating planet, one of the most withering setbacks in recent memory wasn’t delivered by the oil industry or coal…
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16 States Sue Biden Administration Over Gas Permit Pause

By Lisa Friedman 03/21/24
Louisiana and 15 other Republican-led states sued the Biden administration on Thursday over its decision to temporarily stop approving new permits for facilities that export liquefied natural gas.
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National Grid announces $4B plan to upgrade upstate New York power grid

By Patrick Cooley 03/21/24
National Grid, which serves Massachusetts and New York State, said Wednesday it is investing $4 billion to upgrade upstate New York’s power grid.
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Gas Industry Blocks Building Codes Meant To Make Going Electric Cheaper

By Alexander C. Kaufman 03/21/24
The natural gas industry pulled off an 11th-hour victory in its campaign to strip climate-friendly rules out of the latest update to the homebuilding guidelines used in most of the United States.
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Fossil Fuel Cash Is Fracking Democrats’ Climate Support

By Josh Keefe 03/20/24
When President Joe Biden announced in January that he was temporarily halting approvals of new liquefied natural gas exports and processing terminals, Emma Guevara welcomed the news. A resident of Brownsville, Texas — a historically…
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Companies Are Poised to Inject Millions of Tons of Carbon Underground. Will It Stay Put?

By Nicholas Kusnetz 03/20/24
After more than a century of pulling carbon from underground, a rush is underway to pump it back down. Companies have applied for scores of permits across the country to inject carbon dioxide deep into…
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Battered by hurricanes and tired of rebuilding, 90% of population has left this coastal town

By Nidhi Sharma and Lauren Wilson 03/19/24
Seven days a week, Tressie LaBove Smith makes the two-hour round trip from Lake Charles to what’s left of her Cajun restaurant in Cameron, Louisiana, an unincorporated town perched along the stormy Gulf Coast. Business…
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Biden’s LNG Freeze Delaying Projects and Risking US Market Share

By Ruth Liao and Stephen Stapczynski 03/15/24
The Biden administration’s pause on new licenses for liquefied natural gas exporters is already stalling progress for projects that were aiming to come online later this decade.
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US natural gas pipeline accidents pose big, unreported climate threat

By Nichola Groom 03/08/24
Last October, an Idaho farmer using a backhoe punched a hole into a 22-inch (56-cm) pipeline buried under a field, sending more than 51 million cubic feet of natural gas hissing into the air. While…
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One big downside of LNG exports: Price swings for US gas consumers

By Julian Spector 03/06/24
Electricity bills in Louisiana didn’t use to fluctuate based on geopolitical turmoil on the other side of the world. But when Russia invaded Ukraine in early 2022 and kicked off a fossil gas shortage in…
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The Toxic Reality of “Natural” Gas

03/05/24
This season . . . love’s not the only thing in the air. Tune in to the explosive new show where one unsuspecting homeowner with a “natural” gas hookup is forced to live with 21…
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A methane well that leaked for 6 months has released a year’s worth of emissions for 791,000 cars: report

By Matthew Loh 02/16/24
A methane well in Kazakhstan is estimated to have released 140,000 tons of gas into Earth's atmosphere, as it leaked for 205 days in one of the world's worst-ever blowouts, environmental scientists said. The new…
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KEY RESOURCES

Is Natural Gas A Fossil Fuel? Here’s What to Know

02/18/22
Is natural gas a fossil fuel? The answer to this question is a bit complicated. Natural gas is, in fact, a fossil fuel, but it is not the same type of fossil fuel as coal…

Creating safe, healthy & affordable communities through all-electric, Clean energy ​homes & buildings

02/02/22
The Building Decarbonization Coalition unites building industry stakeholders with energy providers, environmental organizations and local governments to power our nation's homes and workspaces with clean energy.

Pennsylvania State Energy Profile

10/21/21
Pennsylvania's marketed natural gas production, primarily from the Marcellus Shale, reached a record 7.1 trillion cubic feet in 2020, and the state is the nation's second-largest natural gas producer after Texas. Pennsylvania is the third-largest…

FracTrackerVideos

05/19/21
This video highlights FracTracker Alliance's current staff and why we do what we do.

Natural Gas

04/25/20
Natural gas is a vital component of the world’s supply of energy. It is one of the cleanest, safest, and most useful of all energy sources. Despite its importance, however, there are many misconceptions about…

Natural Gas

04/22/20
Natural gas is an abundant resource across the United States, and new discoveries and extraction methods have led to a dramatic rise in shale gas development -- making America the world’s leading natural gas producer.

What You Need To Know About Energy: Natural Gas

03/05/20
Natural gas provides 29% of our energy and is used to heat about half the homes in the United States. It is also a raw material in a variety of common products, such as paints, fertilizers,…

Natural gas explained

03/05/20
U.S. dry natural gas production in 2020 was about 33.5 trillion cubic feet (Tcf), an average of about 91.5 billion cubic feet per day and the second-highest annual amount recorded. Most of the production increases…

MORE NEWS

US fracking boom could tip world to edge of climate disaster

By Nina Lakhani and Oliver Milman   05/11/22  
The fate of the vast quantities of oil and gas lodged under the shale, mud and sandstone of American drilling fields will in large part determine whether the world retains a liveable climate. And the…
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Avoid using gas as ‘transition’ fuel in move to clean energy, study urges

By Fiona Harvey   05/10/22  
Countries should move from coal to renewable energy without shifting to gas as a “transition” fuel to save money, as high gas prices and market volatility have made the fossil fuel an expensive option, analysis…
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How the oil and gas industry is trying to hold US public schools hostage

By Leanna First-Arai   05/04/22  
The oil and gas industry wants to play a word-and-picture association game with you. Think of four images: a brightly colored backpack stuffed with pencils, a smiling teacher with a tablet tucked under her arm,…
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Another delay and cost increase announced for Mountain Valley Pipeline

By Laurence Hammack   05/03/22  
Mountain Valley Pipeline will again seek new permits that have twice been cast aside by the courts, delaying completion to the second half of 2023 and boosting the project’s cost to $6.6 billion.
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Interior Department to resume oil and gas leasing, charge higher fees

By Anna Phillips   04/15/22  
As pressure increases on the Biden administration to lower the price of fuel, the Interior Department announced on Friday plans to hold its first onshore oil and gas lease sales since President Biden took office.
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New York shows the challenges of phasing out fossil fuels

By Maxine Joselow   04/12/22  
In December, when the New York City Council voted to ban natural gas use in new buildings, environmentalists in the Big Apple barely stopped to celebrate.
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EU aims to slash Russian gas dependence by two-thirds this year

By Karl Mathiesen   03/08/22  
The EU can cut most of its reliance on Russian gas by the end of this year if governments implement a raft of emergency measures to be proposed by the European Commission on Tuesday.
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US overhauls review policy for gas pipelines, LNG

By Chris Knight   02/17/22  
The agency's Democratic majority voted 3-2 to approve two policies, one revising the agency's project certification process and another creating a new framework for scrutinizing greenhouse gas emissions. Together they mark the largest change in…
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Fact Sheet | Updated Pipeline Certificate Policy Statement (PL18-1-000)

02/17/22  
The update of FERC’s 1999 Policy Statement on the certification of new interstate natural gas facilities provides a more comprehensive analytical framework for the Commission’s decision-making process. The policy statement includes the first revision in…
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GOP and gas lobby preemptively quashed cuts in natural gas usage

By Ella Nilsen   02/17/22  
In 2019, the city council in Berkeley, California, held a stunning vote: it would ban natural gas hookups in all new building construction to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the city's impact on the climate…
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Oil majors ‘not walking the talk’ on climate action, study confirms

By Josh Gabbatiss   02/16/22  
Four of the world’s largest oil-and-gas companies are failing to back their words and pledges on climate change with genuine action and investment, a new study says.
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The end of natural gas has to start with its name

By Rebecca Leber   02/10/22  
The oil and gas industry didn’t invent the name. But it invented the myth of a clean fuel.
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EU proposes rules to label some gas and nuclear investments as green

By Kate Abnett   02/02/22  
Investments in some gas and nuclear power plants would be labelled as sustainable under rules proposed by European Commission on Wednesday, a plan that has split countries and investors, and which some lawmakers will attempt…
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Volts podcast: Panama Bartholomy on decarbonizing America’s buildings

By David Roberts   01/28/22  
Fossil-fuel combustion in buildings — mostly natural gas for space and water heating — is responsible for around 10 percent of US greenhouse gas emissions.[*] Getting to net-zero will require heating, cooling, and powering all…
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Living near or downwind of unconventional oil and gas development linked with increased risk of early death

01/27/22  
Elderly people living near or downwind of unconventional oil and gas development (UOGD)—which involves extraction methods including directional (non-vertical) drilling and hydraulic fracturing, or fracking—are at higher risk of early death compared with elderly individuals…
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Gas Stoves in the US Emit Methane Equivalent to the Greenhouse Gas Emissions of Half a Million Cars

By Phil McKenna   01/27/22  
Natural gas stoves emit far more methane than previously thought, as well as harmful nitrogen oxides in concentrations that can quickly exceed federal safety standards, researchers at Stanford University report.
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Gas stoves in kitchens pose a risk to public health and the planet, research finds

By Maxine Joselow   01/27/22  
Gas-burning stoves in kitchens across America may pose a greater risk to the planet and public health than previously thought, new research suggests. The appliances release far more of the potent planet-warming gas methane than…
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Federal court revokes oil and gas leases, citing climate change

By Lisa Friedman   01/27/22  
A judge ruled that the Interior Department must consider the climate impacts of oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico before awarding leases.
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Airlines flying near-empty ‘ghost flights’ to retain EU airport slots

By Arthur Neslen   01/26/22  
Analysis from Greenpeace finds deserted flights are generating millions of tons of harmful emissions
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Unused and useless: States must act to end flawed natural gas power plant buildouts

By Grant Smith   01/11/22  
Nothing exemplifies the irrational utility business model more than the billions of dollars companies have wasted on the massive buildout of natural gas capacity over the last decade, ignoring obvious market trends favoring renewables and…
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Fossil fuel companies are lobbying to keep the world addicted to natural gas.

By Angela Dewan   12/23/21  
Imagine a world entirely free of fossil fuels. That's no longer such an abstract concept, as most of the everyday things we do can be powered by electricity -- driving a car, heating a home,…
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Clash of the kitchens: California leads the way in a new climate battleground

By Evan Halper   12/16/21  
The most luxurious gas stoves and ovens a home chef could desire fill the cavernous Snyder Diamond showroom in Van Nuys, but the cooking appliance the owner seems most excited about doesn’t use gas at…
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New York City Council votes to ban natural gas in new buildings

By Joseph Guzman   12/15/21  
New York City lawmakers passed legislation banning natural gas hookups in new buildings in favor of electricity or other more environmentally friendly sources for heating, hot water and cooking.
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New York’s Right to ‘a Healthful Environment’ Could Be Bad News for Fossil Fuel Interests

By Kristoffer Tigue   11/23/21  
When New York regulators denied a key permit to the controversial Williams Pipeline in early 2020, in part because it conflicted with the state’s climate law, environmental policy experts called it a potential turning point.
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Cuomo Threatens National Grid: Provide Gas or Lose Your License

By Michael Gold   11/12/21  
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and a utility that provides gas to New York City and Long Island have been locked in a standoff since May, when New York regulators blocked the construction of a $1…
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Biden unveils new rules to curb methane, a potent greenhouse gas, from oil and gas operations

By Dino Grandoni and Steven Mufson   11/02/21  
The Biden administration also unveiled a sweeping set of domestic policies Tuesday to cut emissions of methane from oil and gas operations across the United States. The proposals, announced at the U.N. climate summit known…
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How New York Just Took a Big Step Away From Fossil Fuels

By Grace Ashford and Anne Barnard   10/27/21  
In a major win for climate advocates and supporters of wind and solar energy, New York State environmental regulators refused on Wednesday to allow two companies to upgrade their gas-fueled power plants — signaling a…
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Good readings for getting up to speed on methane

By SueEllen Campbell   10/22/21  
That methane is a powerful greenhouse gas is not news for many readers of this site. But it is newly prominent, both as a significant contributor to recent warming (causing some 25% of it, even…
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Russia allows methane leaks at planet’s peril

By Steven Mufson, Isabelle Khurshudyan, Chris Mooney, Brady Dennis, John Muyskens and Naema Ahmed   10/19/21  
On the morning of Friday, June 4, an underground gas pipeline running through the ancient state of Tatarstan sprang a leak. And not a small one. In a different era, the massive leak might have…
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As Massachusetts envisions a fossil fuel-free future, gas companies are quietly investing billions in pipelines

By Sabrina Shankman   10/03/21  
More than 21,000 miles of aging gas pipelines lie under the streets in Massachusetts, nearly enough to encircle the earth. When researchers began discovering about a decade ago that tens of thousands of leaks across…
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Natural-Gas Prices Surge, and Winter Is Still Months Away

By Ryan Dezember   09/19/21  
U.S. natural-gas futures ended Friday at $5.105 per million British thermal units. They were about half that six months ago and have leapt 17% this month.
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New Permian Basin methane emissions data add support for EPA rule – researchers

By Karin Rives   09/07/21  
The amount of methane being released from oil and gas fields in the Permian Basin is now consistently at pre-pandemic levels, according to researchers who collected new data this summer ahead of upcoming federal emissions…
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Inside Clean Energy: Which State Will Be the First to Ban Natural Gas in New Buildings?

By Dan Gearino   08/19/21  
A new California building code is a leap forward for reducing the use of natural gas, with rules that set a strong preference for electric heating in new construction. That’s the glass-half-full view of the…
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Protesters arrested after rally against Mountain Valley Pipeline in Elliston

By Pat Thomas   08/09/21  
According to Appalachians Against Pipelines, ten people locked themselves to equipment in the Cove Hollow Road area to protect such things as fish and birds the group says are native species threatened by the MVP. All…
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The Era of Cheap Natural Gas Ends as Prices Surge by 1,000%

By Anna Shiryaevskaya   08/06/21  
The era of cheap natural gas is over, giving way to an age of far more costly energy that will create ripple effects across the global economy.Natural gas, used to generate electricity and heat homes,…
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Colonial Pipeline could face enormous daily fine after massive NC fuel leak, feds say

By Joe Marusak   07/09/21  
Colonial Pipeline Co. could face daily fines of up to $200,000 per violation if it fails to improve the way it detects leaks in its U.S. pipeline system, after a massive gasoline leak in Huntersville,…
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Ocean fire exposes weak regulation of Mexico’s oil and gas sector

By Isabelle Gerretsen   07/07/21  
Pemex said a lightning storm ignited a gas leak from an underwater pipeline. “There was no oil spill and the immediate action taken to control the surface fire avoided environmental damage,” the company said in…
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Far From Texas, Huge Gas Bills Stoke Anger After February Freeze

By Christopher M. Matthews   06/27/21  
An angry backlash is building across the middle of the U.S. as states step in to help their constituents pay billions of dollars in natural-gas bills racked up during February’s freeze. While most escaped the…
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BP is planning to drill for fossil gas on edge of world’s largest cold-water coral reef

By Daisy Dunne   06/21/21  
BP is planning to drill for fossil gas on the edge of the world’s largest cold-water coral reef – raising the risk of biodiversity loss, further global heating and toxic fuel spills.
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Washington Climate Activists Celebrate Victory Over Massive Fracked Gas Refinery

06/11/21  
In a stunning climate victory, Northwest Innovation Works (NWIW), backers of a controversial fossil fuel processing and export proposal in Kalama, Wash., officially abandoned its fracked gas refinery and pipeline proposal, terminating the company’s lease…
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Battle Brews Over Banning Natural Gas to Homes

By Katherine Blunt   05/31/21  
A growing fight is unfolding across the U.S. as cities consider phasing out natural gas for home cooking and heating, citing concerns about climate change, and states push back against these bans. Major cities including…
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Natural Gas, America’s No. 1 Power Source, Already Has a New Challenger: Batteries

By Katherine Blunt   05/16/21  
Vistra Corp. owns 36 natural-gas power plants, one of America’s largest fleets. It doesn’t plan to buy or build any more. Instead, Vistra intends to invest more than $1 billion in solar farms and battery…
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Cutting methane emissions is quickest way to slow global heating – UN report

By Damian Carrington   05/06/21  
Fossil fuels, cattle and rotting waste produce greenhouse gas responsible for 30% of global heating Fossil fuels, cattle and rotting waste produce greenhouse gas responsible for 30% of global heating
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Gas Cooking Poses an Asthma Risk to Children Comparable to Secondhand Smoke

By Kate Evans   05/06/21  
We’ve all heard the dangers of passive smoking — especially around children — but it’s unlikely that you’ve heard about the dangers of cooking with gas. Specifically, the impact that cooking with gas can have…
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Senate votes to restore Obama-era limits on methane gas emissions

By Brady Dennis   04/28/21  
The measure still must pass the House before being sent to the president’s desk. It marks Democrats’ first use of the 1996 Congressional Review Act.
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Swift action to cut methane emissions could slow Earth’s warming by 30 percent, study finds

By Brady Dennis and Steven Mufson   04/27/21  
The study, published in the journal Environmental Research Letters, calculated that a full-scale push using existing technologies could cut methane emissions in half by 2030. Such reductions could have a crucial impact in the global effort to…
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Halting the Vast Release of Methane Is Critical for Climate, U.N. Says

By Hiroko Tabuchi   04/23/21  
A major United Nations report will declare that slashing emissions of methane, the main component of natural gas, is far more vital than previously thought.
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California enlists surveillance satellites to sniff out greenhouse gas ‘super-emitters’

By Tony Barboza   04/15/21  
Years after former Gov. Jerry Brown pledged California would launch its “own damn satellite” to track planet-warming pollutants, the state plans to put not one, but two satellites in orbit to help it hunt for…
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Methane Emissions Spiked in 2020. Scientists Fear Feedback Loops

By Nick Cunningham   04/12/21  
Preliminary data shows that methane emissions jumped in 2020 by the largest amount since systematic record-keeping began decades ago. And despite a dip in polluting activities due to the pandemic, concentration of carbon dioxide in…
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Create Jobs for Oil/Gas Workers, Plugging Oil and Gas Wells

By Peter Sinclair   04/05/21  
Across the country there are hundreds of thousands of abandoned or “orphan” frack wells. There are also, tens of thousands of unemployed oil and gas workers. Putting them to work, plugging old, leaking, toxic and…
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