Friday, January 27, 2012

Fracking Hearing in Colorado Challenges Gas Industry and Citizens

By: Duane Craig

Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, for natural gas has been blamed for making western Wyoming's air dirtier during winter than Los Angeles' air, according to this article in the Houston Chronicle. The claim was brought up during a public comment session on new rules for fracking held in Colorado by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Those new rules would reduce the air pollution from fracking by 25 percent and would boost oil and gas industry profits by capturing gas that could be sold instead of being lost to the atmosphere. Industry groups aren't sure about that and want more time to study the new rules. Colorado residents contend the industry has had enough time to clean up its act, and they want action before Colorado's mountains become socked in by haze, hurting tourism and jobs related to the outdoors.

Health issues were also cited at the hearing, with the American Lung Association urging the EPA to go further and limit methane emissions more directly. Others want the wholesale burn off of natural gas, also known as flaring, to be stopped, and still others want existing facilities to fall under the new rules as well.

Supporters of the oil and gas industry said more regulation will limit exploration, thereby reducing jobs and taxes. No new perspectives there.

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