EPA Puts First Limits on Air Pollution from Natural Gas Fracking

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Posted: Monday, April 23, 2012 8:57 pm | Updated: 9:04 pm, Mon Apr 23, 2012.

WASHINGTON, D.C. –- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued federal standards that will begin to curb millions of tons of dangerous air pollution coming from tens of thousands of hydraulically fractured natural gas wells and other oil and gas production facilities.

“These first-ever EPA limits on dangerous air pollution from natural gas fracking wells are a critical step toward protecting our kids, our communities, and our planet,” said Meleah Geertsma, an attorney in Natural Resources Defense Council’s climate and clean air program. “But to fulfill President Obama’s State of the Union pledge to develop these resources ‘without putting the health and safety of our citizens at risk,’ the EPA needs to do more to protect people living near oil and gas production facilities.”

The EPA updated and broadened two Clean Air Act standards to control dangerous air pollution released during natural gas and oil drilling, pumping, and distribution through pipelines to refineries and other processing facilities. This pollution is made up of cancer-causing chemicals such as benzene, volatile organic compounds that cause region-wide smog, and methane, a powerful global warming pollutant.

Updated “new source performance standards” and “hazardous air pollutant standards” will require better controls on VOC and toxic emissions at key points in drilling and distribution operations. The VOC pollution controls will also begin capturing methane.

SOURCE: Natural Resources Defense Council

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