Vernal, UT — Earthworks released a video taken April 25 showing massive amounts of otherwise invisible air pollution on public lands in Utah, just west of Grand Junction, Colorado. The video comes right as Senate leaders say they will vote on whether to use the Congressional Review Act to permanently revoke the Bureau of Land Management's natural gas waste rule that would significantly reduce this pollution in January 2018.
“We cannot afford to risk our clean air and climate by revoking basic anti-pollution safeguards,” said Lauren Pagel, Earthworks Policy Director. “The Congressional Review Act is a dangerous tool that if invoked would ensure this pollution could go unchecked, forever.”
The video was taken by a certified thermographer with an industry standard Optical Gas Imaging camera, the FLIR GasFinder 320. The $100,000 camera is specially tuned to detect methane and other volatile organic compounds (VOCs), not heat, and is used by industry and regulators for that purpose. Methane is a climate pollutant 86 times worse than carbon dioxide. Oil and gas VOCs often include health hazards like benzene, a carcinogen.
The Bureau of Land Management's natural gas waste rule would require leak detection and repair (LDAR) using optical gas imaging.
“If Congress repeals the natural gas waste rule the American taxpayer loses,” said Bruce Baizel, Earthworks Energy Program Director. “Americans lose because our clear air is poisoned. Americans lose because our natural resources are wasted. And Americans lose because our climate is polluted. When it comes to our energy future, we must protect our anti-pollution laws in order to win.”
Earthworks has made public video evidence of pollution from over 375 oil and gas facilities in 16 states, both on public and private land. All Earthworks infrared videos are filmed by ITC certified thermographers.