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April 17, 2014

National Academy of Sciences: Methane releases from Pennsylvania fracking grossly underestimated.

A significant environmental development appeared in the Los Angeles Times two days ago. The story was apparently missed by mainstream press in western Pennsylvania. See "EPA drastically underestimates methane released at drilling sites", which begins:

Drilling operations at several natural gas wells in southwestern Pennsylvania released methane into the atmosphere at rates that were 100 to 1,000 times greater than federal regulators had estimated, new research shows.

Using a plane that was specially equipped to measure greenhouse gas emissions in the air, scientists found that drilling activities at seven well pads in the booming Marcellus shale formation emitted 34 grams of methane per second, on average. The Environmental Protection Agency has estimated that such drilling releases between 0.04 grams and 0.30 grams of methane per second.

The study, published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, adds to a growing body of research that suggests the EPA is gravely underestimating methane emissions from oil and gas operations. The agency is expected to issue its own analysis of methane emissions from the oil and gas sector as early as Tuesday, which will give outside experts a chance to assess how well regulators understand the problem.

Hat tip: Pittsburgh-based businessman Michael Simms.

Joshua Doubek photo: Halliburton frack site, Bakken Formation, North Dakota

Posted by JD Hull at April 17, 2014 11:01 PM


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