Navigation Links
EPA to Cut Air Pollution from Natural Gas 'Fracking'
Date:4/18/2012

By Amanda Gardner
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, April 18 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday issued the first national standards to curb air pollution linked with the controversial practice of "fracking."

Fracking refers to hydraulic fracturing, a way to obtain natural gas by forcing fluid into a well to fracture rocks and thus release gas.

Natural gas is being touted by the Obama Administration as a clean energy source and one that does not rely on foreign suppliers.

The standards, to take full effect at the beginning of 2015, "will reduce smog-forming air pollution along with cancer-causing air toxins," contends Gina McCarthy, an assistant administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

"Smog formation has been linked to various health ills including asthma attacks, emergency room visits and premature deaths," she added.

Smog also emits toxins such as benzene that can cause cancer, said McCarthy, who spoke at a Wednesday news conference.

McCarthy estimated that the rule will cut volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which contribute to smog by 190,000 to 290,000 tons a year, and benzene by 12,000 to 15,000 tons a year.

Although the rule does not directly target greenhouse gases, methane levels will also be reduced as a byproduct of technologies required to meet the tougher standard, she said.

Environmentalists have been concerned about natural gas that escapes these wells, filtering up into the air and potentially harming human health.

In a statement released Wednesday, Meleah Geertsma, of the environmental watchdog group National Resources Defense Council, called the EPA move "a critical step toward protecting our kids, our communities and our planet." But Geertsma, an attorney for NRDC's climate and clean air program, also said that the initiative does not go far enough. "The EPA needs to do more to protect people living near oil and gas production facilities," she said.

According to the Associated Press, last year in western Wyoming fracking resulted in ground-level ozone, the main constituent in smog, at levels that were worse than that seen in smog-ridden Los Angeles.

Benzene levels considered dangerous to human health have been detected in Dish, Texas, which is near numerous fracking sites, the AP also reported.

On the other hand, drilling sites in four counties in Pennsylvania have not been associated with air emissions problems, the AP said.

Operators of new "fracked" natural gas wells will have to capture any additional natural gas using technologies that are already available, according to the EPA rules.

They then will be able to sell that extra gas, making the new regulations ultimately cost-effective and even cost-saving, McCarthy said.

Between now and Jan. 1, 2015, natural gas operators must either "flare" (burn) gas emissions or use "green completions" technologies to prevent gas from escaping. Starting in 2015, however, companies will have to use green completions.

"Completion" refers to a process taking place over three to 10 days, as a well transitions from being drilled to actually producing natural gas. Much of the pollution from fracking is thought to be emitted during this period.

The EPA estimates that about 13,000 wells are fractured or re-fractured each year in the United States. Some states, such as Colorado and Wyoming, already regulate the fracking industry, the AP noted.

"This is the first national standard to reduce air pollution from hydraulically fractured wells," McCarthy said. "When implemented, it will require operators to capture gas that would otherwise escape into the air, keeping harmful pollution out of the air."

But the NRDC believes more must be done. In their statement, the group said it is "disappointed that EPA has allowed industry more than two and a half years for full compliance. It should not take that long to build more of the truck-mounted rigs that can capture these gases and put them into the pipelines to be sold at a profit instead of leaked into our air."

The NRDC believes the EPA "also needs to set strong standards that directly curb leakage of methane and other dangerous pollutants from the existing wells and operations."

More information

Find out more about the new standards for fracking at the EPA.

SOURCES: April 18, 2012 press conference with Gina McCarthy, assistant administrator, Office of Air and Radiation, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; April 18, 2012, news release, National Resources Defense Council


'/>"/>
Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Years of Exposure to Traffic Pollution Raises Blood Pressure
2. Air Pollution Slows Womens Marathon Times
3. Whats Cookin? It Could Be Air Pollution
4. Hear the World Survey Reveals Growing Noise Pollution Affecting both Physical and Mental Health
5. Air Pollution Raises Risk of Heart Disease, Death
6. Revised Oil Pollution Act Case Digest and Source Book to be Published June 2, 2010
7. Revised Edition of the Oil Pollution Act Case Digest and Source Book Released
8. Air Pollution Tied to Breathing Problems in Sleep
9. Studies confirm presence, severity of pollution in national parks
10. New map offers a global view of health-sapping air pollution
11. Air pollution alters immune function, worsens asthma symptoms
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
EPA to Cut Air Pollution from Natural Gas 'Fracking'
(Date:3/23/2017)... Braunfels, TX (PRWEB) , ... March 23, 2017 , ... ... new clinic, located at 960 Gruene Road in Building 2. The clinic is the ... Dr. Andrew Bennett, PT, says opening the company’s second New Braunfels location brings things ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... PA and Grimsby, Ontario (PRWEB) , ... March 23, 2017 , ... The MBI “Hall ... modular industry or whose acts have had a significant impact on the careers of all ... and Marketing with NRB Inc. was inducted into the MBI’s Hall of Fame. The ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... Austin, TX (PRWEB) , ... March 23, 2017 , ... ... fist-sized organs that pack a punch when it comes to maintaining good health. Every ... every 30 minutes, your kidneys filter every drop of your blood, eliminating waste, regulating ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... Angeles, CA (PRWEB) , ... March 23, 2017 ... ... A funding investment in Los Angeles based healthcare technology company California Healthcom Group ... portfolio into the US, and healthcare arena. With headquarters in California, CHG is ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... ... March 23, 2017 , ... Michael Lanteri ... the greater Fort Collins area, has unveiled a collaboration with nonprofit Big Bones ... Donations to this worthy cause may now be made at http://bigbonescaninerescue.com/ . ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:3/23/2017)... March 23, 2017 The key factors ... increasing diabetic population, accelerating economic growth and increasing healthcare expenditure. ... are higher life expectancy of ESRD patients, rising demand for ... However, the expansion of the market is hindered by high ... ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... , March 23, 2017 As a ... along with the prevalence of allergic diseases, cutting ... are currently revolutionising the ways in which pharmaceutical ... Allergies 2017 promises to be both a high ... the allergy interest groups, immunologists, research scholars and ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... AUSTIN, Texas , March 23, 2017 /PRNewswire/ ... www.digitalpharmacist.com ), a rapidly growing digital ... PocketRx, a mobile app that allows patients to ... including multi-store locations such as Denver Health Pharmacy, ... app. The acquisition helps Digital Pharmacist accelerate its ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: