Research

Our Compendium

Our Compendium

Download our compendium of studies demonstrating the safety and health benefits of fracking.

A battery of air tests during the simultaneous hydraulic fracturing of 5 Barnett Shale natural gas wells and the subsequent initial flowback period is one of the largest scale air testing projects of its kind. Modern Geosciences, a respected environmental testing firm that has been doing quarterly and monthly air testing for the Town of Flower Mound for 6 years, conducted the project. The air studies in Mansfield were requested by the operator of the wells, Beacon E&P, a Colorado-based company that has offices in Fort Worth and operations in the Barnett Shale region in North Texas.

Over the last several years, multiple published papers have outlined the potential chemical and non-chemical hazards from oil and gas operations. In addition, studies specifically evaluating the relationship between living near oil and gas operations and the potential for certain adverse health effects have been widely publicized. This information led to heightened public and policy-maker concerns about whether or not harmful health effects occur in people living near oil and gas operations.

We present an analysis of ambient benzene, toluene, and xylene isomers in the Eagle Ford shale region of southern Texas. In situ air quality measurements using membrane inlet mobile mass spectrometry revealed ambient benzene and toluene concentrations as high as 1000 and 5000 parts-per-billion, respectively, originating from specific sub-processes on unconventional oil and gas well pad sites.

Energy and Air Pollution

November 16, 2016

The International Energy Agency (IEA), an autonomous agency, was established in November 1974. Its primary mandate was – and is – two-fold: to promote energy security amongst its member countries through collective response to physical disruptions in oil supply, and provide authoritative research and analysis on ways to ensure reliable, affordable and clean energy for its 29 member countries and beyond.

Abundant natural gas at low prices has prompted industry and politicians to welcome gas as a ‘bridge fuel’ between today’s coal-intensive electric power generation and a future low-carbon grid. We used existing national datasets and publicly available models to investigate the upper limit to the emission benefits of natural gas in the USA power sector. As a limiting case, we analyzed a switch of all USA coal plants to natural gas plants, occurring in 2016.

This report analyzed publicly reported data on carbon dioxide (CO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx), sulfur dioxide (SO2), and mercury emissions from the nation’s 100 largest electric power producers, which account for 85 percent of the nation’s power production. The report concludes that since 2000 emissions of all four major pollutants have dropped while total electricity generation and the American economy have grown.

A 3-month air monitoring study was conducted in Washington County, Pennsylvania, at the request of local community members regarding the potential risks resulting from air emissions of pollutants related to hydraulic fracturing operations. Continuous air monitoring for total volatile organic compounds was performed at two sampling sites, including a school and a residence, located within 900 m of a hydraulic fracturing well pad that had been drilled prior to the study.

Approximately 60 companies contacted (some returned, other companies no longer operating), some covered approximately 96% of 2014 producing or shut-in APIs in Uintah and Duchesne counties

The Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) onboard NASA’s Aura satellite has been providing global observations of the ozone layer and key atmospheric pollutant gases, such as nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and sulfur dioxide (SO2), since October 2004. The data products from the same instrument provide consistent spatial and temporal coverage and permit the study of anthropogenic and natural emissions on local-to-global scales.

There is a nationwide trend to develop shale formations due to advances in horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing technology. The Barnett Shale in north Texas is one of the largest onshore natural gas fields in the US, and has experienced exponential growth since the 1990’s. This immense amount of well development and gas production has occurred near heavily populated, urban areas, leading to increased public concern regarding the impacts of these activities on human health and welfare.

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