FOCUS ON: Natural Gas

Natural gas is plentiful in the United States. In 2013, it accounted for 27% of total electricity generation, second only to coal. New technology has in recent decades increased the amount of natural gas that can be extracted from previously marginal shale beds. That new technology – called hydraulic fracturing, or fracking – involves horizontal drilling of wells, along with high-pressure injection of water and chemicals to crack the underground shale and release the natural gas.

In addition to concern about fracking’s impact on water quality, the process has serious air quality impacts. Communities in shale plays across the country have experienced increases in harmful air pollutants such as volatile organic compounds and ground level ozone. Fracking also involves extensive trucking activities, and can increase dangerous diesel emissions from trucks and generators. When air quality declines, so does the health of the community.

The fracking process also involves unintentional releases of methane, the major component of natural gas. Because methane is a potent greenhouse gas – more than 80 times more powerful in its warming capacity than carbon dioxide in the first 20 years of its release – an increase in fracking also threatens to accelerate global warming.

View our ad series on how fracking pollution impacts communities.

The State of Your Air 2018

BY Molly Rauch ON April 20, 2018
How does your city stack up when it comes to air pollution? The American Lung Association helps sort it out in their new report: State of the Air 2018. The results are troubling. More than 40% of Americans live in counties where the air is...

TOPICS: Air Pollution, Alaska, Asthma, California, Children's Health, Colorado, Florida, Fracking, Georgia, Heat and Extreme Weather, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Natural Gas, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Ozone, Pennsylvania, Pollution, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia

When Fracking Poisons Her Community, A Mom’s Faith Guides Her to “Do the Right Thing”

BY Diane MacEachern ON April 6, 2018
When your kids head out to the school playground for recess, you expect them to jump rope, play tag, or swing on the swings. You don’t expect them to be exposed to harmful air pollution that puts their health and safety at risk. But that’s what’s...

TOPICS: Air Pollution, Asthma, Cancer, Children's Health, Fracking, Natural Gas, Pennsylvania, Politics, Pollution, Religion, Schools, Toxics

Religion Empowers This Mom When Fracking Comes to Town

BY Diane MacEachern ON March 29, 2018
“You know you’re in trouble when you see Halliburton trucks arrive.” That’s what Jill Antares Hunkler said to her sister the first time they spotted a Halliburton vehicle lumbering through their small village of Barnesville, Ohio. Nestled in southeast Ohio about halfway between Columbus and...

TOPICS: Activism, Air Pollution, Children's Health, Fracking, Motherhood, Natural Gas, Ohio, Pollution, Religion
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