Despite the state's struggle to meet gas flaring goals, the state Industrial Commission has approved a round of exemptions for one particular company.
Enerplus Resources was forced to remove natural gas from a pipeline earlier this year after hydrogen sulfide, a compound most facilities don't have a treatment process for, was discovered in their product.
However, the company just recently installed a treatment process, and asked for a two-year flaring exemption.
But the exemption would only be in effect when the new machinery is damaged and inoperable.
Department of Mineral Resources Director Lynn Helms said he doesn't think it's a good approach, and allowing this flaring is a short-term solution to the growing problem.
“Occasionally, companies frack, we believe, out of zone and that brings in hydrogen sulfide gas. And then, once the well has it, it seems to go up and down, but it never goes away,” Helms said.
The key issue for the Commission was the concern over emissions. Flaring hydrogen sulfide is significantly more harmful to air quality. And there are 40 MORE exemptions facing the commission for the same reason.
The commission approved the exemption on a firm contingency that during the two-year window, the company would also sponsor research into removing the sulfur from the compound. That sulfur, according to the commission, would then be used for agriculture as a value-added commodity.