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  • bluecheese4u bluecheese4u Sep 16, 2013 10:53 PM Flag

    Study finds limited greenhouse gas emissions from fracking


    Study finds limited greenhouse gas emissions from fracking

    Julian Hattem - 09/16/13 04:06 PM ET

    A new study has concluded that the controversial natural gas development method known as fracking releases “significantly lower” emissions of the greenhouse gas methane thanks to pollution control equipment.

    The analysis from the University of Texas and the Environmental Defense Fund, which was supported by multiple oil-and-gas companies, found that leakage of the gas were 97 percent lower than 2011 estimates from the Environmental Protection Agency.

    The conclusion should provide a boon to proponents of hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, which supporters say is a cleaner source of energy than coal.

    “This study tackles one of the most hotly debated issues in environmental science and policy today,” said Mark Brownstein, an associate vice president with the Environmental Defense Fund, in a statement. “It shows that when producers use practices to capture or control emissions, such as green completions, methane can be dramatically reduced.”

    The oil-and-gas industry saw the new numbers as an indication that additional fracking regulations are not necessary.

    “The industry will continue to make substantial progress to reduce emissions voluntarily and in compliance with EPA's recent emissions standards,” said Howard Feldman, head of regulatory and scientific affairs at the American Petroleum Institute, in a statement. “Capturing methane is helping operators deliver more natural gas to consumers, creating a built-in incentive to continue reducing these emissions."

    Hydraulic fracturing involves high-pressure injections of water, chemicals and sand into rock formations to release trapped gas.

    Natural gas produces far less carbon than coal does when burned to produce electricity.

    However, advocates and opponents of the energy resource have sparred over how much methane, a far more potent greenhouse gas, is leaked as a result of natural gas development

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