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Colorado: State to study drilling emissions

Methane leakage from the gas production fields of northeastern Colorado may be twice as high as previously estimated, according to new research from NOAA.

Methane leakage from the gas production fields of northeastern Colorado may be twice as high as previously estimated, according to new research from NOAA.

Energy boom contributes to regional haze problems and potential health impacts

By Bob Berwyn

FRISCO — Colorado officials took another small step to address growing public concerns about the impacts of the state’s energy boom by announcing a $1.3 million study of emissions from oil and gas drilling operations.

According to a press release from the Colorado Department of Natural Resources, the study will help provide information about how oil and gas emissions behave, how they travel and their characteristics in areas along the northern Front Range.

A second phase would assess possible health effects using data collected in the first phase. Testimony at this week’s Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission rulemaking hearing reinforced the views of experts for both industry and the conservation community that more and better science is needed related to oil and gas emissions. Continue reading

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Colorado: Air pollution from gas fields worse than thought

Methane leakage from the gas production fields of northeastern Colorado may be twice as high as previously estimated, according to new research from NOAA.

Tons of toxic benzene leaking into the atmosphere from drilling operations

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Oil and gas drilling operations in Weld County are probably leaking twice as much methane into the atmosphere as previously estimated, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which also reported leaks of toxic benzene gas after starting a routine tower-based monitoring program a few years ago.

“We may have been significantly underestimating methane emissions by this industry in this region,” said Gabrielle Petron, an atmospheric scientist with NOAA’s Earth System Research Laboratory and the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences.

Some of the pollutants picked up are known to damage air quality. Another, methane, is 25 times more effective per molecule than carbon dioxide at trapping heat in the atmosphere. The scientists were concerned. None of NOAA’s other air composition monitoring towers – there are eight, in total, scattered around the continental United States – had recorded anything similar. A link to the research is online here. Continue reading

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