Posted November 01, 2018 08:03:25By Robert F. KennedyThe Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is expected to vote on Thursday on whether to allow natural gas companies to shut down all their operations in Texas and other states where they have not been approved for the use of hydraulic fracturing.
The commission’s vote is expected shortly after 5 p.m.
EST (1700 GMT) as the Texas legislature returns from its summer recess, and the agency’s vote could be the final step before the state’s approval is final.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency has said that natural gas drilling in Texas, and especially in the Bakken region, poses a greater threat to public health than other forms of energy production.
The agency has also said that methane leaks from drilling operations pose a risk to air quality.
But there are significant concerns about the impact of the industry on the environment.
In 2015, the Environmental Protection Agency estimated that about 30 percent of methane leaks in the oil and gas industry were attributable to human activities, including methane leakage from fracking.
Methane is a potent greenhouse gas that can cause global warming by trapping heat in the atmosphere and forcing it up through the atmosphere.
The federal government has proposed to limit emissions of methane from oil and natural gas production in the U.S. to 30 parts per million (ppm) by 2025.
That would be a reduction of about 1,000 ppm, or about 0.3 percent, from current levels, according to a government report last year.
If the commission votes to allow the gas companies a second chance to shut their operations down, the impact could be significant, said Andrew P. Weber, a senior fellow at the libertarian Cato Institute, which supports more stringent rules on the oil, gas and coal industries.
The EPA could use the authority to set standards for methane leaks, which could result in higher emissions, Weber said.
But if the commission does not set any standards, that could create a regulatory loophole that would allow gas companies and other industry players to exploit existing rules without complying with them.
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The decision to permit the gas industry to shut its operations in the state comes as a wave of methane-related pollution is threatening to overwhelm state regulators and environmental groups.
The governor of Texas is urging lawmakers to approve a bill that would give the state authority to regulate gas and oil companies operating in Texas.
The bill, HB-1250, has drawn opposition from industry groups, as well as environmentalists and Texas Democratic lawmakers.
In an interview with the Dallas Morning News, Sen. Lois Kolkhorst, a Houston Democrat who has been critical of natural gas and is seeking re-election in 2018, said that she is concerned that the commission’s decision could “open the door for other companies to come in and say, ‘You know what?
We have all this data that proves our operations are safe.
Let’s go ahead and shut down and go into bankruptcy.'””
If it’s not going to be done in a way that protects our communities, we’ll just be stuck in the same old system that’s been set up for the last 40 years,” she said.
The Houston Chronicle staff contributed to this report.