April 11, 2012
Natural gas production releases an alphabet soup of pollutants into the air which are bad news for everyone – the family next door, the neighboring towns, and ultimately, communities all over the world feeling the impacts of climate change. This is a new and growing industry, but here’s what we know so far:
Local: Air quality testing in the areas around natural gas wells and processing equipment – in Colorado, Texas, andNew Mexico - have shown levels of pollutants, such as benzene, xylene, 1,3-butadiene, and other hydrocarbons, that can cause respiratory and neurological impacts and increase the risk of cancer. A recently published study looking at air quality data collected in rural Colorado found that these health risks increased the closer you got to the gas wells. Diesel emissions from heavy machinery and trucks also pollute the air at a local level.
Regional: Last year was a winter for the record books in...