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Commentary: 'The Right Way to Develop Shale Gas'

Former New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Fred Krupp, president of the Environmental Defense Fund, write in the New York Times : "Listening to the polarized energy debate in the United States, you might think natural gas was an economic and geopolitical cure-all — or an environmental curse. Too many oil and gas executives behave as if this newly abundant resource, released from underground shale deposits by the combination of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, has no environmental challenges. Opponents often act as if it has no economic and environmental benefits."  

"So here’s a reality check. The shale gas boom is indeed lowering energy costs, creating new jobs, boosting domestic manufacturing and delivering some measurable environmental benefits as well. Unlike coal, natural gas produces minuscule amounts of such toxic air pollutants as sulfur dioxide and mercury when burned — so the transition from coal- to natural-gas-fired electricity generation is improving overall air quality, which improves public health. There’s also a potential climate benefit, since natural-gas-fired plants emit roughly half the carbon dioxide of coal-fired ones."  

The piece concludes: "Now the Obama administration is developing a methane-reduction strategy. We’re confident the Environmental Protection Agency will recognize, as Colorado did, that sensible rules are necessary and affordable, and will work with states to write them. And we hope that as in Colorado, industry leaders, elected officials and environmentalists will work together to make shale gas development safer. Doing so will not only help the industry meet reasonable pollution limits, it will help the industry regain public trust."

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