Friday, May 15, 2015

NY Fracking Report Underscores Quake, Climate Risks

A map of the shale gas plays in the Northeast showing nearly all of western New York within the Utica and Marcellus shale plays. (Credit: Penn State University) Click to Enlarge.
New York is 2,000 pages closer to becoming the first fossil fuels-rich state in the U.S. to ban fracking indefinitely because of the climate-changing methane it could emit and the earthquakes, air pollution and water contamination it could cause.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced in December that fracking, short for the natural gas extraction process called hydraulic fracturing, would be banned in New York, where the energy-rich Marcellus shale holds up to 9 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.  The state followed up this week with a 2,000-page final environmental report outlining why it would be better off without the environmental, climate and public health implications of the process.

No other energy-rich state has successfully banned fracking beyond a handful of local jurisdictions.  In Maryland, where two counties in the western part of the state overlie the Marcellus shale, the legislature has passed a temporary ban on fracking, which expires in two years.  The New York ban is an administrative action that could be reversed by a future governor.

Fracking, which has brought about the U.S. shale oil and gas boom along with advancements in drilling technology, has several climate implications.  Perhaps most significantly, extracting and transporting natural gas emits large amounts of methane, which is about 35 times as potent as a greenhouse gas as carbon dioxide.

Read more at NY Fracking Report Underscores Quake, Climate Risks

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