Fracking’s Link to Smog Worries Some Texas Cities
AUGUST 7, 2012 | 6:45 AM
BY DAVE FEHLING
The fear is that the enormous increase in oil and gas well drilling, largely related to the technique called hydraulic fracturing or fracking, is releasing sizable amounts of gases. Among them, methane and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) like benzene. The federal government is convinced it’s a big deal.
“The oil and gas industry is a significant source of VOCs, which contribute to the formation of ground-level ozone (smog),” said the EPA in announcing new rules for drilling issued this April. The EPA said methane—what natural gas is made of—is a highly potent greenhouse gas. The agency blames oil and gas production and processing for “nearly 40% of all U.S. methane emissions.”
The EPA says of particular concern is “flowback,” one stage of drilling a well when a mix of natural gas and VOCs come to the surface “at high velocity and volume” for three to 10 days, according to the EPA.
The problem is there are Few studies done on air safety, health effects near drilling sites.
John Toerge says he’s like many other people living close to oil and gas development in Colorado — the effects of drilling aren’t just felt in the local economy, they’re felt in his nose, lungs and ears, too.
“When they did this well a quarter mile from my house, I started noticing I was getting bloody noses, respiratory problems,” he said.
These complaints are widespread in every area where they are fracking. It’s a worldwide problem.
Here is the bottom line: They don’t know…
Scientists say what they don’t know about the air emissions from oil and gas development has implications for both human health and climate change; carcinogens such as benzene and the mother of all greenhouse gases — methane — have been found in abundance in the air over Northern Colorado, and they can be seemingly traced to energy development.
Mind the gap
There’s a lot that’s unknown about what’s in the air around oil and gas, but one thing is known: Benzene, ethylbenzene, toluene, xylene, heptane, octane, diethylbenzene and other substances all make up an alphabet soup of both carcinogenic and non-cancer-causing pollutants found in the air around oil and gas drilling sites in Colorado. What’s less known is how far it spreads.
Raise your hand if you think we should know before we continue with this maddening buildout pace.
This is a good article. You should read the whole thing.
Few studies done on air safety, health effects near drilling sites
10:39 PM, Aug 13, 2012
I’m adding an UPDATE here. I was going to ignore Kevin Begos’ latest skewed article but Dory did a lovely job of busting Begos.