Fracking Flub

Methane Dangers May Be Three Times the Estimate




Results of a meta-analysis of 20 years worth of scientific studies published in Science magazine conclude that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has underestimated the natural gas industry’s climate impact by 25 to 75 percent by not including methane leakage from fracking, gas drilling operations and pipelines. Methane, the main component of natural gas, is a potent greenhouse gas.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration researcher Gabrielle Petron voices concern with the discrepancies because, “Emission estimates, or ‘inventories’, are the primary tool that policy makers and regulators use to evaluate air quality and climate impacts.”

For a paper published in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, researchers flew aircraft over a heavily fracked region in northeastern Colorado and concluded that emissions from drilling operations were nearly three times higher than an hourly emission estimate published by the EPA.

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