By now, everyone knows that fracking is a controversial technology used increasingly in oil and gas development in the United States and, potentially, around the world. Its impacts are far-ranging – causing or contributing to drinking and surface water pollution, air pollution, human and animal health impacts and industrialization of communities.
NRDC released a new report today that addresses one vexing aspect of oil and gas development – the enormous quantities of methane that are released into the atmosphere all along the production, processing and transmission processes. Methane is a particularly pernicious global warming pollutant, making its intentional and unintentional release during oil and gas development, including fracking, both hugely problematic and unacceptable.
The report sets forth 10 methane capture technologies that are currently available and economically viable, and which federal and state regulators should immediately mandate the industry to implement. Not only would implementation of the ten measures cut methane emissions by 80 percent, but it would capture a slew of other air pollutants emitted during oil and gas development. Needless to say, these recommendations should be adopted without delay.
Of course, even full scale implementation of the new report’s recommendations leaves many other localized fracking-related environmental problems that must still be addressed. And with 30 states, including New York, either advancing oil and gas development activities today or seriously considering giving the green light to such drilling in the near future, implementation of these sensible methane-capture technologies would be just one of many things the gas industry needs to do to clean up its act.