More Studies Point to Natural Gas Drilling Problems


The April 13 issue's main feature, "Natural Gas Drilling: What We Don't Know," bore into the unknowns of drilling deep into the Earth for natural gas, specifically, the alleged effects of fracking on water sources and the general lack of scientific knowledge about further potential effects of the process.

This week, The New York Times reported on two studies about to be released that examine the environmental effects of natural gas after it has come out of the ground. From the Times' piece:

... two coming studies try to poke holes in the clean-and-green reputation of natural gas. They suggest that the rush to develop the nation’s vast, unconventional sources of natural gas is logistically impractical and likely to do more to heat up the planet than mining and burning coal.

The problem, the studies suggest, is that planet-warming methane, the chief component of natural gas, is escaping into the atmosphere in far larger quantities than previously thought, with as much as 7.9 percent of it puffing out from shale gas wells, intentionally vented or flared, or seeping from loose pipe fittings along gas distribution lines. This offsets natural gas’s most important advantage as an energy source: It burns cleaner than other fossil fuels and releases lower carbon dioxide emissions.

On Monday, April 18, Canadian company Bridge Resources will hold a town hall meeting with Payette County residents to discuss plans to drill several natural gas wells near New Plymouth.