Economy, Regs, & Taxes

Study Shows Few Methane Leaks From Fracking

A new study estimates that fracking isn't as evil as some might think.

Sep. 18, 2013

If you were worried that fracking would ever take the place of cow flatulence as a source of methane in the atmosphere, worry no more. A study released earlier this week and published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences estimated that total leakage of methane was less than one-half of 1% of all produced natural gas, or roughly 100 billion cubic feet based on 2012 U.S. production of 24.1 trillion cubic feet.

Yet Radical Green remains unfazed by the facts, claiming that the wells selected were not “real operations” but carefully chosen as low-emitting sites. “Their study was not designed to look at the combination of normal and abnormal operations,” sneered Ira Leifer, a University of California-Santa Barbara scientist who measures methane leaks around the country. Other skeptics claimed bias because industry interests mainly financed the $2.3 million study – not that environmental groups have ever financed a study where the conclusions somehow coincided with their desired result.

NAS president Ralph Cicerone, however, called the study participants “some of the very best experts” in the field, who are “going to give you the straight scoop.” Unlike other broad airborne estimates of methane leakage that have varied widely and may not have accounted for natural sources, these measurements were taken at 489 participating wells around the country.

Unfortunately for the radical environmental community, the hyperbole of massive environmental damage and flaming water faucets blamed on fracking isn’t borne out in reality. The truth is that our nation could be among the world’s top producers of natural gas and an energy exporter in the very near future – if the federal government and Radical Green stand aside.

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