Natural gas drilling is deemed a clean energy source but has been criticized heavily for the negative impacts it can have. Air pollution has been the center of attention as one of these concerns. With these concerns being brought to the surface, The Obama administration has rolled out the first ever national standards to control air pollution from gas wells.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) officials state that the new regulations would ensure air pollution is controlled without slowing natural gas production. “By ensuring the capture of gases that were previously released to pollute our air and threaten our climate, these updated standards will protect our health, but also lead to more product for fuel suppliers to bring to market,” said EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson in a statement.
Drilling companies will now be required to install pollution reducing equipment and will be given more than two years to employ technology to reduce emissions from the well. In the meantime, the EPA will require drillers to burn off gas, which will reduce the overall emissions.
Any well located in a low pressure area would be exempt from the law, as they release less air pollution during the completion stage.
Many recent studies have shown air pollution near Marcellus drilling areas. In the Upper Green River Basin in western Wyoming, levels of ground-level ozone were triggered. In Dish, Texas, the state’s environmental regulators detected levels of cancer-causing benzene.
The deadline for installation on the new equipment is January 2015.