EARTHblog » Nadia Steinzor
March 2, 2016
Every day, an average adult takes about 20,000 breaths to get the oxygen needed for survival. Unfortunately, for the growing number of people living near oil and gas development, that many breaths also provides ample opportunities to take in health-harming pollution.
The shale boom of the last several years has intensified drilling in many places and introduced it in others, adding onto previous drilling and bringing the number of active oil and gas wells nationwide to 1.1 million in 2014.
No wonder oil and gas field residents keep asking basic questions: “What’s in my air?” and "Why is it making me sick?” Yet both the regulators who oversee the oil and gas industry and the policymakers who determine its course respond only with partial, ambiguous answers. They don’t regularly monitor the air directly around well sites and facilities, accurately track the emissions generated, or use the right health standards to judge risks to residents.
January 21, 2016
Pennsylvania officials often boast about having the second highest natural gas producing state in the nation, usually while playing up purported economic benefits and downplaying documented environmental impacts. But this week, the ranking was invoked as the reason to stem pollution caused by oil and gas operations.
Governor Wolf's Administration announced a new plan to o reduce methane pollution from fracking and fracking-related development, including gas wells and processing and transmission facilities. At 87 times more potent than carbon dioxide over a 20-year time period, methane—the primary component of natural gas—is a major driver of climate change. In 2014, Pennsylvania’s oil and gas producers reported wasting nearly 100,000 metric tons of methane, or enough natural gas to heat nearly 65,000 homes.