Level of Air Quality Impacts from Drilling Debated

While possible adverse impacts to water quality are often associated with Natural Gas extraction, impacts to air quality are many times overlooked. Few people dispute that air pollution occurs from the use of diesel-powered drilling rigs, pick-up trucks, tractor-trailers, and earth moving equipment, in addition to the particulate matter dispersed from dust, natural gas flaring, and gas dehydration and separation equipment.  

What is disputed is the amount of air polution and what effects this pollution may have.  

In Sublette County, Wyoming, one of the most sparsely populated counties in the continental United States and home to massive natural gas fields, the State of Wyoming recently recommended “non-attainment” status be given by the EPA for ozone levels that breach the Clean Air Act for the past several years.  However, industry groups and other skeptics portend that the heightened ozone levels are the result of  a combination of industry pollutants and rare weather patterns that concentrate the ozone to unnatural levels, a feat they say is nearly un-reproducable in other areas or in a consistent manner. 

Meanwhile, in the Barnett Shale region of Texas, a recent report from  Southern Methodist University claims that trucks, compressors, and tank batteries produce more ozone-causing volatile organic compounds each day than do all the non-gas field cars and trucks operated in the entire Dallas -Ft. Worth region. However, industry trade groups counter that if the study were accurate, then ozone would have skyrocketed in recent years as drilling activity has exploded, but in fact ozone levels in Dallas Ft. Worth have decreased over the past several years. 

And while the previous two examples involve nearly Los Angeles-sized Ozone levels, the LA Times recently ran a story about a 18-year study that shows long-term exposure to even low levels of Ozone is lethal over time.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Level of Air Quality Impacts from Drilling Debated

  1. lisa ann wright says:

    When it comes to the gas industry, and the impacts of unconventional drilling, we can choose to live in a world that respects hard facts and the scientific method, or we can live in the world dominated by financial schemes that make such independent inquiry impossible.

    Quote of the Day:
    “The Forest Service operates under an unhealthy ‘don’t-ask-don’t-tell’regime when it comes to oil and gas drilling,” Ruch added. “This tortured stance forces the agency’s own scientists to ignore obvious problems,putting them in an intolerable conflict between their careers and their consciences.”
    http://www.commondreams.org/newswire/2009/03/31

  2. Nowadays, few people dispute that air pollution occurs from the use of diesel-powered drilling rigs, pick-up trucks, tractor-trailers, and earth moving equipment, in addition to the particulate matter dispersed from dust, natural gas flaring, and gas dehydration & separation equipment.

  3. How many pick up trucks are there on a gas field?

    I would assume the normal traffic in the surrounding areas would cause far more pollution than diesel powered equipment on a gas field.

    It sounds reasonable that organic compounds would be a problem pollutant from a gas field but diesel powered equipment?? Those are everywhere, not only on gas fields.

  4. R Shourds says:

    I read your post. I am a driller but I drill for environmental testing. I like to keep informed so thanks and keep on posting. Thanks

  5. WMS says:

    Air Pollution is the number one problem in our society today. Its nice to know that there are alternatives ways to procure safely the clean air we need through vaporization. Yes, drilling actions can irritate the nasal passages which causes us to cough by releasing harmful chemicals that are bad to our health.

  6. CHARLES SCOTT says:

    I need to know the cfr concerning air quality, are oil companies, and their
    drilling contractors required to do pre-testing the air quality in a particular area before they set a rig 300 ft or less from your home, also are they required to do daily testing while they are drilling in occupied areas where people are living, and then test after they have left the area. The emmissions, and the toxins have a serious effect on everyone living in the direct area where a drilling rig has been drilling for 30 to 45 days. I need to know what the cfr are about keeping the air quality breathable. Are oil companies, and drilling contractors required to keep daily air quality logs, so they can protect the enviorment and public health.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *