I appreciate all the reporting we can get on the pollution caused by the “un-clean energy” natural gas, but I have to take issue with WFAA’s claim that the emissions are “breaking news.”
Peggy Heinkel-Wolfe reported on Barnett Shale drilling emissions on May 30, 2006. Surprisingly, the article is still available online. I saved it long ago so I would have the information for reference.
Cars not only culprit for smog
Gas drilling in the Barnett Shale doesn’t help
10:54 AM CDT on Tuesday, May 30, 2006
By PEGGY HEINKEL-WOLFE / Denton Record-Chronicle
Bright, blue skies are turning hazy for the summer, and no one knows yet whether last year’s spike of unhealthy ozone days will subside.
While experts say much of the pollution comes from cars, trucks and construction equipment, there’s a new variable in the Denton area’s dirty air equation: Gas drilling in the Barnett Shale. And while drivers must submit their vehicles for emission inspection, gas drillers aren’t required to submit their practices to similar checks.
Individual drilling sites vary in their emissions, as do pipeline and production facilities. Scientists know, for example, that certain drilling practices such as venting and flaring emit hydrocarbons and volatile organic compounds into the air. In addition, those emissions, along with hydrogen sulfide, often leak from pipelines and production facilities.
Not only do emissions from gas fields add to the region’s problems in meeting the environmental standards, but also the compounds themselves are known to affect human health.
There’s a lot more to this article including results from a study by University of California and information about the effects of flaring and venting.
What you won’t find in Peggy’s article is any contribution from University of North Texas.
Thomas LaPoint, director of the University of North Texas Institute of Applied Sciences, said their department has no one researching emissions or air quality, but have been desperately trying to get the university to recognize its value.
“This is an important topic that someone should be looking at,” LaPoint said.
Not a word from UNT after all this time.
See Peggy’s Barnett Shale Bibliography. It’s 5 pages with 2 columns per page.