Harmful, wasteful, and preventable — much bigger than a fracking problem.
Methane is a flammable gas that is the main constituent of natural gas. It’s a naturally occurring fossil fuel, also produced by landfills and cattle operations.
It’s also a form of air pollution.
Methane is highly efficient at trapping heat, making it a powerful greenhouse gas — 84 times more powerful, on average, than carbon dioxide, in the first two decades after its release. Wherever methane escapes into the atmosphere from well pads, pipelines, and other fracking-related activities, that’s climate pollution.
WASTE, WASTE, WASTE
Methane leaks out of pumps, pipelines, well pads, compressor stations – all along the oil and gas supply chains. It’s also deliberately vented. These leaks and vents represent $1 billion in lost revenue per year.
Solutions to plug the leaks and stop the vents are cost-effective and readily available. Venting, flaring and leaks from oil and gas facilities are an irresponsible and unnecessary waste of natural resources.
The oil and gas industry is the largest single source of methane emissions in the U.S., 29% of all methane emissions.
Why is methane leaking in such large amounts from the system designed to capture and market it as a form of energy?
Because the oil and gas industry is not required to limit its methane emissions.
Voluntary measures are clearly not enough. Plug the leaks.
Need any more reasons to plug the leaks?
Methane isn’t the only thing leaking throughout oil and gas operations. Many air pollutants, potentially harmful for our families and communities, are emitted along with heat-trapping methane. They are called co-pollutants.
They are dangerous to your health.
Benzene: Increases risk of certain forms of leukemia; linked to anemia; suppresses the immune system; associated with preterm delivery, kidney cancer, and menstrual disorders.
Toluene: Increases risk of birth defects. Also linked to arrhythmias, cognitive impairment, miscarriage, and reduced fertility.
Ethylbenzene: Toxic to the central nervous system; eye, nose, mouth, and throat irritant.
Xylene: Linked to hormonal changes, menstrual disorders, miscarriage, cognitive impairment, and hearing loss.
Nitrogen oxides: Lung irritants and asthma triggers. Contribute to smog formation.
Hydrogen sulfide: Toxic and explosive gas. Damages central nervous system. Can be fatal at high levels.
Smog: Volatile organic compounds like BTEX combine with heat and sunlight in the atmosphere to form ground level ozone, or smog. Smog is a powerful lung irritant and asthma trigger that interferes with normal lung development.
Some studies have found that living close to natural gas operations is associated with an increased risk of neural tube defects, congenital heart defects, and preterm birth.
Like many complex problems, contained within this polluting system is also tremendous opportunity:
If we reduce methane leaks from natural gas operations, these dangerous pollutants will decline too.
U.S. efforts to fight climate change are not complete until we address methane leaks from the oil and gas industry.
FIND ‘EM FAST. FIX ‘EM FAST.