Courtesy of Climate Central.org:
Scientists have long expressed concern about how a lack of data and access to drilling sites prevents a complete scientific assessment of how hydraulic fracturing and oil and gas production affect the climate, environment and public health.
A new University of Texas-Austin analysis of natural gas drilling and fracking in urban areas near Dallas and Fort Worth, Texas, not only criticizes state and federal regulatory agencies for dismissing public concern about the health and environmental impacts of shale oil and gas development, but illuminates the large gap in understanding about what shale oil and gas production mean for public health and the environment in Texas and beyond.
An oil and gas field near Odessa, Texas.
Credit: Dennis Dimick/Flickr
Shale oil and gas production, which is expanding rapidly across much of the central U.S., is likely to be a driver of climate change, not only because burning petroleum products produced there emits vast amounts of carbon dioxide, but because natural gas production and distribution systems are likely to leak methane, a gas about 35 times more potent than carbon as a greenhouse gas.
But the gap in scientists’ understanding of what shale oil and gas development means for the environment and human health is significant, said Susan Brantley, a Pennsylvania State University biogeochemist studying the impacts of shale gas development in Pennsylvania. Brantley, unaffiliated with the UT-Austin study, is among the scientists who have spoken out about the fracking data gap. Continue reading