Oil & Gas Industry's 2011 Environmental Spending Pegged at $12.9 Billion

A new API report also says 35 percent of the environmental spend, or $4.5 billion, in 2011 went toward air pollution abatement.

The American Petroleum Institute has published a report quantifying how much the U.S. oil & gas industry has spent recently to prevent, control, abate, or eliminate environmental pollution. The report is based on responses to a questionnaire sent a representative sample of companies, and it indicates environmental spending rose sharply in 2008 and 2010, the latter associated with cleaning up the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

In 2011 alone, the industry's environmental spend was $12.9 billion, with 35 percent of it -- $4.5 billion -- going toward air pollution abatement, 20 percent on water, 11 percent on remediation and spills, 8 percent on wastes, and 26 percent on "other." The emphasis on air pollution is driven by requirements of the 1990 Clean Air Act, according to the report.

From 1990 through 2011, the industry's environmental spend was $252.8 billion, divided this way: $114.2 billion (45 percent) on air, $50.7 billion (20 percent) on water, $37.7 billion (15 percent) on remediation and spills, and $17.3 billion (7 percent) on wastes, it says.

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