Natural Gas

1:24am

Thu May 17, 2012
The Fracking Boom: Missing Answers

Fracking's Methane Trail: A Detective Story

Originally published on Fri May 18, 2012 7:36 am

A natural gas drilling rig's lights shimmer in the evening light near Silt, Colo.
David Gilkey NPR

Gaby Petron didn't set out to challenge industry and government assumptions about how much pollution comes from natural gas drilling.

She was just doing what she always does as an air pollution data sleuth for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

"I look for a story in the data," says Petron. "You give me a data set, I will study it back and forth and left and right for weeks, and I will find something to tell about it."

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1:04am

Wed May 16, 2012
The Fracking Boom: Missing Answers

Medical Records Could Yield Answers On Fracking

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 8:50 am

William Reigle has fibrosis, a disease that may be aggravated by nearby fracking. He's one of more than 2 million Pennsylvanians who get their health care from Geisinger Health System. The system wants to use its extensive database of patient records to study the health impact of natural gas production.
Maggie Starbard NPR

A proposed study of people in northern Pennsylvania could help resolve a national debate about whether the natural gas boom is making people sick.

The study would look at detailed health histories on hundreds of thousands of people who live near the Marcellus Shale, a rock formation in which energy companies have already drilled about 5,000 natural gas wells.

If the study goes forward, it would be the first large-scale, scientifically rigorous assessment of the health effects of gas production.

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11:11am

Mon April 30, 2012
Business

Energy Transfer Partners To Buy Sunoco For $5.3B

Sunoco operates about 4,900 gasoline stations around the United States.
Alex Brandon AP

Natural gas pipeline company Energy Transfer Partners is buying Sunoco in a deal valued at about $5.3 billion.

The acquisition would give Energy Transfer the capability to transport crude and other liquid hydrocarbons that are being produced in greater quantities thanks to the boom in shale drilling. Sunoco's pipelines crisscross the country, connecting the Great Lakes and Northeast to America's refining center along the Gulf Coast.

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1:34am

Thu April 19, 2012
Environment

How A 'Western Problem' Led To New Drilling Rules

Originally published on Thu April 19, 2012 7:45 am

Oil field workers drill into the Gypsum Hills near Medicine Lodge, Kan., on Feb. 21. The Environmental Protection Agency announced new rules Wednesday to control the problem of air pollution coming from wells being drilled by the booming oil and natural gas drilling industry.
Orlin Wagner AP

The Environmental Protection Agency's new air pollution rules for the oil and gas industry may seem like odd timing, as President Obama has been trying to deflect Republican criticism that he overregulates energy industries. But the rules weren't the Obama administration's idea.

Several years ago, communities in Colorado, New Mexico and Wyoming complained about air pollution from natural gas booms in their local areas.

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3:04pm

Wed April 18, 2012
Energy

New Rules To Curb Pollution From Oil, Gas Drilling

Originally published on Wed April 18, 2012 5:34 pm

Oil and natural gas drillers use equipment like this to separate the liquid, gas and sand that come out of wells at the beginning of hydraulic fracturing operations.
David Gilkey NPR

The Environmental Protection Agency announced new rules Wednesday to control the problem of air pollution coming from wells being drilled by the booming oil and natural gas drilling industry.

Currently, waste products from the drilling operations, which include a mix of chemicals, sand and water, can be pumped into open enclosures or pits, where toxic substances can make their way into the air. The new rules will require this fluid to be captured by 2015, and flared — or burned off — in the meantime.

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