Oct 30, 2017

Big natural gas consumers want more transparency from producers

A worker helps monitor water pumping pressure and temperature at a hydraulic fracturing and extraction site in Western Slope of Colorado. Photo: Brennan Linsley / AP

America's biggest natural gas consumers are calling on fuel producers to ramp up their green cred.

  • Seven companies and two municipally owned utilities that consume large amounts of natural gas are urging the producers that supply them with the fuel to step up disclosure on a range of environmental issues, according to a new report viewed exclusively by Axios before its release today.
  • Why it matters: America's natural gas boom has lowered carbon emissions and fueled economic growth across the country. But the public's perception of natural gas is mixed. A lot of people are concerned that hydraulic fracturing — where a mix of water and chemicals is injected into rock to release gas — contaminates drinking water supplies.

The report is coming as the Trump administration grapples with how to move forward with repealing and maybe replacing President Obama's regulations (Check out my latest Harder Line column on this topic). This report is separate from that debate, though it adds additional pressure to oil and natural-gas producers to take a public step on the environmental impacts of natural gas.

"We believe this to be the first time natural gas purchasers are directly engaging with natural gas suppliers on environmental sustainability reporting," said Robert LaCount, executive vice president at Michael J. Bradley and Associates, the consulting firm that conducted the study.

Companies involved: Calpine Corporation, Consolidated Edison Company of New York, National Grid, NRG Energy, NW Natural, Pacific Gas and Electric Company, Xcel Energy and two municipally owned utilities: Austin Energy and Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.

One level deeper: The biggest areas in the report are around emissions of methane, a potent greenhouse gas that's also the primary component of natural gas, and water, a big worry for people living near oil and natural gas wells.

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President Trump signed a $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief package on Friday, as infections in the U.S. topped 100,000 and more cities experience spikes of the novel coronavirus.

The big picture: The U.S. has the most COVID-19 cases in the world, exceeding China and Italy, per data from Johns Hopkins. A second wave of American cities, including Boston, Detroit, New Orleans and Philadelphia, are reporting influxes of cases.

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Italy on Friday reported 969 COVID-19 deaths over a 24-hour period, marking the deadliest single-day for the country since the global outbreak began, according to data from the Health Ministry.

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 595,800 — Total deaths: 27,324 — Total recoveries: 131,006.
  2. U.S.: Leads the world in cases. Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 103,942 — Total deaths: 1,689 — Total recoveries: 870.
  3. Federal government latest: President Trump signed the $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus bill to provide businesses and U.S. workers economic relief.
  4. State updates: Nearly 92% of cities do not have adequate medical supplies — New York is trying to nearly triple its hospital capacity in less than a month.
  5. World updates: Italy reported 969 coronavirus deaths on Friday, the country's deadliest day.
  6. Business latest: President Trump authorized the use of the Defense Production Act to direct General Motors to build ventilators for those affected by COVID-19. White House trade adviser Peter Navarro has been appointed to enforce the act.
  7. 🏰 1 Disney thing: Both Disney World and Disneyland theme parks in the U.S. are closed until further notice.
  8. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancing.
  9. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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