Thursday, April 19, 2012
EPA releases emissions standards for gas drilling
In the first federal effort to cap emissions at natural-gas drilling sites, the Environmental Protection Agency issued new air quality standards this week. John Broder of The New York Times reports the rule is an effort to limit "serious air pollution associated with ... hydraulic fracturing," which releases into the air toxic and cancer-causing chemicals, including benzene and methane. The rule will be fully effective in January 2015.
Industry groups say the standards "would cost hundreds of millions of dollars and slow the boom in domestic natural gas production," Broder reports. The rule allows two years for compliance. Gina McCarthy, head of the EPA Office of Air and Radiation, said the rule would reduce emissions of volatile organic compounds by 190,000 tons a year, and other air pollution by 12,000 tons a year. The agency speculates the industry could recoup $11 to $19 million a year because it will be able to capture methane that's typically burned off.
Anti-pollution standards were proposed last summer after environmental and citizens groups complained that gases escaping from wells were affecting human health and causing widespread pollution. (Read more)