How will the EPA’s new natural gas drilling regulations impact Pennsylvania? The Post-Gazette takes a look:
Ms. McCarthy said the flaring requirement will cut emissions of smog-forming volatile organic compounds by up to 290,000 tons a year or 95 percent from the 13,000 wells that are fracked annually. It is also designed to reduce emissions of benzene, a human carcinogen, by up to 20,000 tons a year.
When emissions-capturing technology is fully implemented in 2015, it will reduce methane emissions by up to 1.7 million tons a year, offsetting equipment costs and resulting in cost savings of more than $9 million a year, she said.
“These standards are practical, affordable and achievable,” Ms. McCarthy said.
Almost 50 percent of fracked wells nationwide already use equipment to capture emissions during well-completion, she said, including all wells in Colorado and Wyoming, states that require its use, as well as urban areas in Texas.
Left-leaning Mother Jones points out the new regulations 1) don’t go into effect until 2015, and 2) don’t directly limit greenhouse gasses:
The announcement has already excited many in the areas of Pennsylvania where fracking is a fact of daily life. “As a resident near a gas field, air pollution is way scarier than water well contamination,” said Susquehanna County environmental organizer Rebecca Roter, referring to the other major concern many locals have about fracking.
Matt Walker of Pennsylvania’s Clean Air Council stressed that while the rule is a boon for health concerns, further regulation was needed to curb the release of gases, like carbon dioxide and methane, that contribute to global warming. “We need to keep pushing,” he said. “We hope the EPA will set standards for greenhouse gases in the future.”
Gina McCarthy of the EPA said the mandate would yeild a 90 percent reduction in air pollutants released as a byproduct of the fracking process at some 13,000 gas wells nationwide.