Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Attention Turns to Fracking's Impact on Air Quality

A energy facility flares in South Texas' Eagle Ford Shale region. (Credit: Lance Rosenfield/Prime) Click to Enlarge.
New science and media coverage highlight air pollution from fracking, long overshadowed by concerns over water contamination.

Fracking's impacts on air quality took the spotlight this year, fueled by new research and broad media coverage.

The modern shale boom has created a massive influx of oil-and-gas wells, compressor stations and other infrastructure that spew toxic chemicals and greenhouse gases into the air.  The consequences for public health and climate change are increasingly recognized as serious issues, on par with the water contamination concerns that once dominated debates over the pros and cons of fracking.

In mid-December, New York banned high-volume hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, within its borders, effectively closing off the state's shale gas resources to producers.  New York's decision was based on a public health review which cited various health risks including "air impacts that could affect respiratory health due to increased levels of particulate matter, diesel exhaust, or volatile organic chemicals."

Read more at Attention Turns to Fracking's Impact on Air Quality

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