I can't breathe... | Green Arkansas

Thursday, September 25, 2008

I can't breathe...

Posted By on Thu, Sep 25, 2008 at 2:14 PM

The Natural Resource Defense Council, along with the Wild Earth Guardians, have released a fact sheet on air pollution related to natural gas exploration in the Rocky Mountain region. Aside from the water and ground pollution, one thing no one seems to talk about in this whole mess is the possible effects on our air quality. The report claims the following, which actually harks back to yesterday’s post:

“Oil and gas drilling operations can release a number of hazardous pollutants, including hydrogen sulfide, benzene, toluene, formaldehyde, and diesel exhaust. Exposure is known to lead to short-term illnesses, cancer, or even death. For example, benzene and formaldehyde are both known to cause cancer, and diesel exhaust contains a number of compounds known to cause cancer. Emissions can come from oil and gas itself, chemical additives used in drilling, or fuel combustion. Despite the health risks, oil and gas exploration and production operations are exempt from two key provisions of the Clean Air Act’s National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants, designed to protect public health.”

Gas drilling can cause a rise in ozone pollution levels and can release carbon dioxide and methane through leaks, emissions, and venting.

But don’t give up hope. There are ways to fix the problem. Recently, the Journal of Petroleum Technology laid out 25 cost-effective measures to reduce emission. The EPA has weighed in as well, offering an 89 point plan to help operators control emissions. The plan calls for a number of measures icluding increased maintenance to equipment monitoring. One company, Williams Production Co., reports making $9.00 for every $1.00 they spend on controlling their emissions.

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