New Study by University of Texas Gives Fracking Advocates New Ammo

Bad news for fracking naysayers: it seems they may have lost a significant card in their deck, as a new study published early this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggests that the methane leaks from fracking sites, long cited as a major concern, may not be nearly as bad as anticipated by the EPA and others. The study, sponsored by both the Environmental Defense Fund (representing the belief that shale gas extracted from fracking may in fact be more environmentally sound and thus a better short term fuel solution than coal) and nine petroleum companies (whose participation is perhaps more dubious), concludes that the sum total of methane (a toxic greenhouse gas, as we all know by now) leaking from the 190 onshore natural gas sites and 500 wells surveyed in the study is decidedly lower than expected, while still certainly within the realm of “significant.”

What does this mean for the future of fracking? Well, the EPA has already imposed regulations requiring additional control over methane leaks, and many companies have already begun imposing stricter controls over escaped green house gases. However, as Peter’s post from yesterday points out, it would seem we still have a long way to go before reaching anywhere near “total control.”


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